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North Korea says Biden administration took wrong first step over latest missile test

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South Korea North Korea Projectile

People watch a TV showing a file image of a North Korean missile launch during a news programme at the Suseo railway station in Seoul on Thursday, Mar 25, 2021. (Photo: AP/Ahn Young-joon)


(Updated: )

SEOUL: North Korea said on Saturday (Mar 27) that the administration of US President Joe Biden had taken a wrong first step and revealed “deep-seated hostility” by criticising its self-defensive missile test.

North Korea on Friday claimed it had launched a new type of tactical short-range ballistic missile. Biden said the test violated UN Security Council resolutions but said he remained open to diplomacy with Pyongyang.

Ri Pyong Chol, secretary of the North’s ruling Worker’s Party’s Central Committee, said the missile test was self-defensive against threats posed by South Korea and the United States with their joint military exercises and advanced weapons.

“We express our deep apprehension over the US chief executive faulting the regular testfire, exercise of our state’s right to self-defence, as the violation of UN ‘resolutions’ and openly revealing his deep-seated hostility,” Ri said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

READ: North Korea tested new ‘tactical guided projectile’: Pyongyang

Biden’s remarks were an “undisguised encroachment on our state’s right to self-defence and provocation,” he said, adding Washington might face “something that is not good” if it continues to make “thoughtless remarks”.

“I think that the new US administration obviously took its first step wrong,” Ri said.

He accused the Biden administration of “exploiting every opportunity” to provoke Pyongyang by branding it as a “security threat.”

The test came just days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed to work to denuclearise North Korea and criticized its “systemic and widespread” human rights abuses during his visit in Seoul with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

North Korea has also slammed the South Korea-US exercises which ended last week, even though they were repeatedly scaled back to facilitate a restart of denuclearisation talks with Pyongyang.

Ri said Washington insisted on a “gangster-like logic” to be able to bring strategic nuclear assets to South Korea and test intercontinental ballistic missiles at its convenience, but ban North Korea from testing even a tactical weapon.

“We cannot but build invincible physical power for reliably defending the security of our state under the present situation in which South Korea and the United States constantly pose military threats … while persistently conducting dangerous war exercises and introducing advanced weapons,” he said.

READ: North Korea fires 2 ballistic missiles into sea near Japan

READ: Biden warns North Korea against escalation after suspected ballistic tests

The White House, which said its North Korea policy review was in the “final stages,” declined to comment. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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 “destabilising.”

“North Korea’s unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs constitute serious threats to international peace and security,” she told a regular news briefing.

“I can’t underscore enough that the president and his security team are continuing to assess the situation and one of our greatest priorities right now is ensuring that we’re on the same page as our allies and partners.”

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