North Korea hinted at the resumption of nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile testing on Thursday, saying it could restart “activities” it had temporarily suspended to build trust with former US President Donald Trump.
A key ruling party rally held on Wednesday concluded that North Korea should take “practical steps to more reliably and effectively increase our physical strength” to counter the United States, the agency reported. Korean official press Central News Agency.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has spoken with Trump three times, chaired the meeting hosted by the Political Bureau of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee, according to KCNA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting hosted by the Political Bureau of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee in Pyongyang on January 19, 2022. (KCNA/Kyodo)
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The party also decided to “significantly” celebrate the 110th birth anniversary of late North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung on April 15 and the 80th birth anniversary of his son, the late former leader Kim Jong. He, February 16.
Foreign affairs experts warn that North Korea could conduct an ICBM or nuclear test on anniversaries. Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are the grandfather and father of current leader Kim Jong Un respectively.
At the first-ever US-North Korea summit in June 2018 in Singapore, Washington promised to provide security guarantees to Pyongyang in exchange for the country’s “complete” denuclearization. Since then, North Korea has refrained from nuclear and ICBM testing.
Pyongyang, however, has argued that Washington has failed to implement the deal despite North Korea taking what it says are concrete steps to get rid of its nuclear arsenal.
North Korea recently conducted test-fires of what appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions banning Pyongyang from developing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
In November 2017, North Korea launched what it called the “most powerful” ICBM, capable of delivering a nuclear warhead anywhere in the continental United States. Kim Jong Un then declared the completion of “the state nuclear force”.
Pyongyang’s last nuclear test, its sixth, took place in September 2017. Trump has urged the North Korean leader to scrap all nuclear facilities in the country, including undeclared ones, but he is uncertain whether Pyongyang dismantled them.
Direct talks between the United States and North Korea have stalled for more than two years, with President Joe Biden’s administration unlikely to make concessions on denuclearization and sanctions relief.
North Korea has expressed reluctance to conduct bilateral negotiations with the United States unless Washington withdraws what Pyongyang sees as its hostile stance. The two countries have no diplomatic relations.
Earlier this month, North Korea slammed the United States for extending sanctions over Pyongyang’s missile tests, saying boosting its national defense capabilities was a state’s legitimate right. sovereign.
North Korea’s economy, meanwhile, continued to languish in the wake of the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, with Kim Jong Un acknowledging that the nuclear-armed nation has faced a severe food crisis. .
With North Korea taking strict anti-epidemic measures such as closing its borders, its trade with China fell by about 90 percent in 2021 compared to 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
North Korea says no domestic cases of infection have been found, but it halted ground traffic to and from China until earlier this month amid growing fears the virus, detected for the first time in the central city of Wuhan in China at the end of 2019, can enter the country.
In addition to falling trade with China, the devastation to the country’s agricultural sector caused by powerful typhoons and floods has also raised concerns that North Korean citizens may not receive adequate food and sanitation. other daily necessities.
North Korea’s latest provocative remarks against the United States may have been aimed at bringing the Biden administration to the negotiating table to discuss sanctions relief by heightening security tensions in the region, some experts say.
Other observers say North Korea is trying to develop new weapons on a regular basis based on decisions taken at the ruling party’s first congress in five years in January 2021.