Kim Jong Un

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said North Korea should prepare for both dialogue and confrontation with the United States, particularly confrontation, state media KCNA reported on Friday.

It was Kim’s first direct comment on the Biden administration. The remarks came during Thursday’s plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s central committee, after an earlier session where Kim called for measures to tackle the “tense” food situation arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Kim had made a detailed analysis of the policy of the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden towards Pyongyang and laid out “appropriate strategic and tactical counteraction” with the United States, KCNA said.

Dignity

The news agency report said:

“The General Secretary stressed the need to get prepared for both dialogue and confrontation, especially to get fully prepared for confrontation in order to protect the dignity of our state and its interests for independent development.”

Such moves would “reliably guarantee the peaceful environment and the security of our state,” KCNA said.

Kim also emphasized the need to create a “favorable external climate” for the North’s own initiatives.

The news agency report did not provide details of any course of action.

Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held their first summit in May, injecting fresh urgency into efforts to engage the North in talks on its nuclear weapons.

Economy

On Wednesday, Kim said the overall economy had improved in the first half of the year, with total industrial output growing 25% from a year before, but called for measures to tackle the “tense” food situation caused by the pandemic.

Food situation ‘tense’ due to pandemic, typhoons

Kim Jong Un has said the country’s economy improved this year but called for measures to tackle the “tense” food situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s typhoons, KCNA said on Wednesday.

Kim chaired a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s central committee on Tuesday to review progress on major policies and craft measures to resolve economic issues, according to the KCNA.

The committee set goals and tasks to achieve its new five-year economic plan outlined at its previous session in February, including increased food and metal production.

Kim said the overall economy had improved in the first half of the year, with the total industrial output growing 25% from a year before, KCNA said.

Deviations

But there was “a series of deviations” in the party’s efforts to implement the plans due to several obstacles, he said, singling out tight food supplies.

“The people’s food situation is now getting tense as the agricultural sector failed to fulfill its grain production plan due to the damage by typhoon last year,” Kim said.

The party vowed to direct all efforts to farming this year and discuss ways to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, KCNA said.

Kim called for steps to minimize impacts of natural disasters as a lesson from last year and key to attain this year’s goal.

In January, Kim said his previous five-year economic plan had failed in almost every sector, amid chronic power and food shortages exacerbated by sanctions, the pandemic and floods.

He also said the protracted pandemic required the party to step up efforts to provide food, clothing and housing for the people, KCNA said.

North Korea has not officially confirmed any COVID-19 cases, a claim questioned by Seoul officials. But the reclusive country has imposed strict anti-virus measures including border closures and domestic travel restrictions.

North Korea says Biden policy shows hostile U.S. intent, vows response

An earlier media report said:

North Korea lashed out at the U.S. and its allies in South Korea on Sunday in a series of statements saying recent comments from Washington are proof of a hostile policy that requires a corresponding response from Pyongyang.

The statements, carried on KCNA, come after the White House said U.S. officials had completed a months-long review of North Korean policy, and underscore the challenges U.S. President Joe Biden faces as he seeks to distinguish his approach from the failures of his predecessors.

In one statement, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman accused Washington of insulting the dignity of the country’s supreme leadership by criticizing North Korea’s human rights situation. This criticism is a provocation that shows the U.S. is “girding itself up for an all-out showdown” with North Korea, and will be answered accordingly, the unnamed spokesman said.

In a separate statement, Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of U.S. Affairs, cited Biden’s speech to Congress on in which the president said nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran pose threats that would be addressed through “diplomacy and stern deterrence.”

Kwon said it is illogical and an encroachment upon North Korea’s right to self-defense for the U.S. to call its defensive deterrence a threat.

“His statement clearly reflects his intent to keep enforcing the hostile policy toward the DPRK as it had been done by the U.S. for over half a century,” he said, using the initials for North Korea’s official name.

Kwon said U.S. talk of diplomacy is aimed at covering up its hostile acts, and its deterrence is a means for posing nuclear threats to North Korea. Now that Biden’s policy has become clear, North Korea “will be compelled to press for corresponding measures, and with time the U.S. will find itself in a very grave situation,” he added.

‘FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES’

Talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to surrender its nuclear weapons program have been stalled since a series of summits between Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to yield a deal.

The North Korean statements appear to echo comments by the ministry in March saying relations with the U.S. would be shaped by the “principle of power for power and goodwill for goodwill,” said Jenny Town, director of the U.S.-based 38 North program, which tracks North Korea.

Dollar

An activist group in South Korea said on Friday it had released balloons into North Korea carrying dollar bills and leaflets denouncing the government in Pyongyang.


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