North Korea on Saturday snapped back at President Joe Biden’s criticism over their ballistic missile tests. North Korea called the comments a provocation and an encroachment on their right to self-defense.
The statement was issued by senior official Ri Pyong Chol after North Korea tested two missiles on Thursday. Ri said it was “gangster-like logic” for the United States to criticize the North’s tactical weapons tests when the Americans are freely testing intercontinental ballistic missiles and could send their strategic military assets to the region surrounding the Korean Peninsula at any time. He said the North doesn’t have options other than building “invincible physical power” to defend itself because the United States and South Korea “constantly pose military threats” and continue with their combined military exercises, which the North claims are an invasion rehearsal.
“I think that the new U.S. administration obviously took its first step wrong,” Ri said. “If the U.S. continues with its thoughtless remarks without thinking of the consequences, it may be faced with something that is not good.” Ri, secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee and vice chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission, is a former air force commander who has been seen as a key figure in the development of the North’s missile program. The two short-range missiles are the first ballistic launches since Biden became president. North Korea vowed to expand its “most thoroughgoing and overwhelming military power.”
According to the flight data released by South Korea’s military and North Korea’s own description of the tests indicated that North Korea tested anew solid-fuel weapon that is designed to evade a missile defense system and has nuclear potential. North Korea has shown that they are continuing to increase their nuclear capabilities while nuclear negotiations have completely stalled. North Korea also showed the growing threat of their short-range weapons have to US allies such as South Korea and Japan who have a combined 80,000 US troops stationed.
The United States has downsized its drills with South Korea and stopped sending nuclear-capable bombers and aircraft carriers since President Donald Trump’s first summit with Kim in 2018, where they issued statements on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. But the talks stalled after the second Kim-Trump meeting in February 2019 collapsed over disagreements in exchanging the relief of crippling U.S. sanctions for the North’s disarmament steps. Biden criticized North Korea in his first press conference as president of The United States calling the missile launches a violation of UN sanctions against North Korea. “We are consulting with our partners and allies,” Biden said. “And there will be responses if they choose to escalate. We will respond accordingly. But I’m also prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearization.”
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ARTICLE: DUSTIN RODGERS
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: US NEWS & WORLD REPORT
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