Biden silent amid threats from North Korea

Daniel Fowler
March 30, 2021

Last week, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles from its east coast, the first such launches in almost a year and widely interpreted as Pyongyang's first challenge to the new administration of US President Joe Biden.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield wasn't specific about what those actions might entail, but noted that the UN Security Council had met last week and renewed the mandate of experts who monitor sanctions against the North.

Pyongyang last week launched two weapons assessed by the U.S. and others to be short-range ballistic missiles, which it is banned from under Security Council resolutions.

In a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, Ri Pyong-chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, defended the firings, calling them an exercise of the country's self-defense right.

"Such remarks from the USA president are an undisguised encroachment on our state's right to self-defense and provocation to it".

"If the United States continues with its thoughtless remarks without thinking of the consequences, it may be faced with something that is not good", he said, adding that North Korea was prepared to "continue to increase our most thoroughgoing and overwhelming military power".

Ri Pyong Chol, a leading official in North Korea's missile program who supervised the test, said the president's comments had revealed his "deep-seated hostility" to the regime.

- North Korea said Saturday that US President Joe Biden's administration had taken the, quote, "wrong first step" in criticizing Pyongyang's latest missile test.

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'We are by no means developing weapons to draw someone's attention or influence his policy, ' Ri said. In a tour of Asia this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would seek to reduce threats from North Korea, and denounced the Kim regime's human-rights record.

The Biden administration has been reviewing its North Korea policy, which looks at pressure options and ways to rekindle long-stalled diplomatic talks with Pyongyang.

The US military has warned that the North deploying such a weapons system would be a significant increase in its offensive capabilities and a new cause for concern, but analysts have told The Telegraph that the threat is more limited as US and Japanese underwater monitoring technology will allow the submarine to be closely tracked.

"We know very well what we must do".

This, as the Biden White House and the Department of Defense has yet to respond to recent nuclear missile tests and developments from the East Asian country.

Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies said in a report on Friday that commercial satellite imagery showed North Korea has continued to produce uranium concentrate, used to build nuclear weapons, over the past eight months, though it has not tested any bombs since 2017.

But when asked earlier about the launch and whether it would affect the policy review, department spokeswoman Jalina Porter once again condemned the test as "destabilizing".

In two military parades since late past year, North Korea unveiled at least three new missiles that haven't been tested.

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