Seoul, South Korea ( Associated Press) — North Korea on Friday slammed the Biden administration for imposing new sanctions against the country over its latest missile tests and warned that if Washington maintains its “confrontational stance” there will be a stronger and stronger More clear action will be taken.
In a statement carried by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency, an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman defended the recent alleged launch of hypersonic missiles by North Korea as an appropriate exercise of self-defense.
The spokesman said the new sanctions underscore the hostile US intent aimed at “isolating and suppressing” the North, while Washington has made repeated calls to Pyongyang to resume diplomacy, which seeks sanctions relief. And disagreements about nuclear disarmament steps have stalled.
The Biden administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on five North Koreans in response to the North’s latest missile test this week over their role in obtaining equipment and technology for North Korea’s missile programs, and also said it would face new UN sanctions. will demand.
The announcement by the Treasury Department came hours after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the successful test of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday, which he claimed would significantly increase the country’s nuclear “war deterrence”.
A North Korean spokesman accused the United States of maintaining a “gangster-like” stance, saying the North’s development of the new missile is part of efforts to modernize its military and does not target any specific country or target its neighbors. There is no security threat. ,
The spokesman, using the abbreviation for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic, said, “Nevertheless, the US is deliberately aggravating the situation even with the activation of independent sanctions, referring to the DPRK’s appropriate activity in the United Nations Security Council.” Not satisfied with doing it.” of Korea.
“This shows that although the current US administration is trumpeting about diplomacy and dialogue, it is still engrossed in its policy of isolating and suppressing the DPRK… .
Tuesday’s test was North Korea’s second display of its alleged hypersonic missile in a week. In recent months the country has been accelerating testing of new, potentially nuclear-capable missiles designed to eliminate missile defense systems in the region, as it builds on its military capabilities amid a freeze in diplomacy with the United States. continues to expand.
Hypersonic weapons, which fly at speeds greater than Mach 5 or more than five times the speed of sound, can pose a significant challenge to missile defense systems because of their speed and maneuverability.
Such weapons were on the wish-list of sophisticated military assets that Kim unveiled early last year with multi-warhead missiles, spy satellites, solid-fuel long-range missiles and submarine-launched nuclear missiles.
Still, experts say North Korea will need years and more successful and long-range tests before it can achieve a reliable hypersonic system.
The Biden administration, whose policies have reflected a sweeping shift from America’s terrorism and so-called rogue states such as North Korea and Iran to confronting China, has said it will hold talks with North Korea at any time without any preconditions. ready to start again.
But North Korea has so far rejected the idea of open-ended talks, saying the US should first withdraw its “hostile policy”, a term Pyongyang has used primarily of sanctions and joint US-South Korea military exercises. uses to describe.
In an interview with MSNBC, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the North’s latest tests “profoundly destabilizing” and said the United States engaged deeply on the response with key partners at the United Nations and including allies South Korea and Japan. happened.
“I think some of this is what North Korea is trying to get attention. It has been done in the past. It will probably continue to do so,” Blinken said. “But we are very focused with allies and partners to make sure that they and we are defending properly and that these actions by North Korea have consequences.”
The State Department said Biden’s Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim held separate calls with the nuclear envoys of South Korea and Japan to discuss trilateral cooperation following North Korea’s recent launches and to protect their allies. reiterated Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to
A US-led diplomatic push aimed at persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program in 2019 after the Trump administration rejected the North’s demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.
Kim Jong Un has since pledged to further expand a nuclear arsenal, which he clearly sees as the strongest guarantee of its survival, given the country’s economy being hit by pandemic-related border closures and relentless US-led Despite major setbacks amid the sanctions.