SEOUL (Dispatches) - North Korea on Thursday warned that it may scrap its self-imposed moratoriums on nuclear and long-range missile testing, saying U.S. “military threats” which had “reached a danger line”, were to blame.
“Assessing that the hostile policy and military threats by the U.S. have reached a danger line that cannot be overlooked any longer despite our sincere efforts for maintaining the general tide for relaxation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula since the DPRK-U.S. summit in Singapore, the Politburo unanimously recognized that we should make more thorough preparation for a long-term confrontation with the U.S. imperialists,” the Korean Central News Agency reported , citing decisions taken in a meeting of the country’s leadership, chaired by General Secretary Kim Jong-Un.
The KCNA report indicated that in the years since the diplomatic efforts undertaken by Kim and U.S. officials in 2018 and 2019 aimed at easing tensions, the U.S. had “held hundreds of joint war drills”, delivered “ultra-modern attack means” to South Korea and placed “nuclear strategic weapons into the region around the Korean peninsula,” thus “seriously threatening the security of our state.”
Pyongyang has not tested inter-continental ballistic missiles or nukes since 2017, putting launches on hold as leader Kim Jong Un embarked on a blitz of high-level diplomacy, meeting then-U.S. president Donald Trump three times before talks collapsed two years later.
Since then, the nuclear-armed North has rebuffed U.S. offers of talks while restarting some testing, including of hypersonic missiles.
When Washington imposed fresh sanctions last week, Pyongyang said it was a “provocation” and ramped up conventional weapons tests, vowing a “stronger and certain” response to efforts to rein it in.
Earlier this week the United States called on the country to “cease its military and missile test activities” after it said it would seek new UN sanctions on North Korea.
China, Russia Block U.S. Bid to Sanction North Koreans at UN
China and Russia have delayed a U.S. effort at the United Nations to impose sanctions on five North Koreans in response to recent missile launches by Pyongyang, diplomats said.
The move by Beijing and Moscow came before a closed-door UN Security Council meeting on North Korea on Thursday – the second in two weeks – after Pyongyang fired tactical guided missiles this week.
China and Russia, however, placed a “hold” on the United States’s proposal on Thursday, which puts it in limbo.
China told council colleagues it needed more time to study the sanctions, while Russia said more evidence was needed to back the U.S. request, the diplomats said.
Under current UN rules, the block period can last for six months. After that, another council member can extend the block for three more months, before the proposal is permanently removed from the negotiating table.