Joe Biden has threatened North Korea with retaliation if his military continues to escalate tensions with missile tests.
During his first White House press conference as President, he said the alleged ballistic missile testing by Pyongyang violated United States resolution 1718.
Biden said the United States remained open to diplomacy with North Korea despite its missile tests this week, but warned that if North Korea escalated matters, there would be answers.
“We are consulting with our allies and partners and there will be answers if they choose to escalate,” he said.
“We will react accordingly.”
“I am also prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it must be made contingent on the end result of denuclearization,” he added, referring to US efforts to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.
When asked if he agreed that North Korea was the most important foreign policy problem, Biden replied, “Yes.”
North Korea launched two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea near Japan on Thursday. This underscores the steady progress of its weapons program and increases pressure on Biden’s government, despite its review of its North Korea policy.
It would be North Korea’s first ballistic missile tests in almost a year and the first reported since Biden took office in January.
The launches came just days after North Korea fired several cruise missiles in an exercise that Biden downplayed as “business as usual”.
The news of the launches came a week after Kim Yo Jong, sister of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, sent a strong warning to the US.
“We are taking this opportunity to warn the new US administration that is trying to get rid of the powder smell in our country,” she said, according to the North Korean state news agency.
“When it wants to sleep in peace [the] For the next four years, it should be better not to cause a stink at the first step. “
Their words came when the United States, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon boss Lloyd Austin, began their first trip abroad under Biden’s leadership.
The Biden government is in the final stages of its review of North Korea policies, officials said, while signaling a tough line on human rights, denuclearization and sanctions while making diplomatic statements that Pyongyang government officials said have been rejected.