SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea said Monday that the US is allowing South Korea to build more powerful missiles is an example of US hostile policies towards the north and warned that doing so would create an “acute and unstable situation” on the Korean peninsula could.
It is North Korea’s first response to the May 21 summit between the US and South Korea leaders, where the US ended decades of restrictions, limited South Korea’s missile development, and allowed its ally to develop weapons with unlimited range.
The allegation of hostile US policies towards North Korea is important because it said it will not return to talks and expand its nuclear arsenal while US hostility persists. However, the latest statement has still been attributed to an individual commentator rather than a government agency, suggesting that North Korea may still want to leave room for potential diplomacy with the Biden government.
“The resignation step is a clear reminder of the hostile US policy towards (North Korea) and its shameful duplication,” said Kim Myong Chol, an international affairs critic, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. “It’s engrossed in confrontation, despite its lip service to dialogue.”
“The US is wrong, however. It is a grave mistake to put (North Korea) pressure on by creating an asymmetrical imbalance in and around the Korean Peninsula as it can lead to the acute and unstable situation on the Korean Peninsula that is technically at war, “said he.
The United States had previously banned South Korea from developing a missile with a range of more than 800 miles, fearing a regional arms race. The range is enough for a South Korean weapon to hit all of North Korea, but it cannot hit potential key targets in other neighbors such as China and Japan.
Some South Korean observers hailed the end of restrictions as a restoration of military sovereignty, but others suggested the US intended to bolster its ally’s military capabilities amid a rivalry with China.
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Commentator Kim accused Washington of trying to start an arms race, thwart North Korea’s development, and use medium-range missiles against countries near North Korea.
The South Korean government said it was “carefully” observing North Korea’s response, but Reunification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo would not say otherwise because the comments were attributed to an individual rather than an official statement from the North Korean government.
The North Korean statement comes as the Biden government advances a new approach to North Korea amid long dormant talks on North Korea’s nuclear program. During their summit, Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said a new US policy review on North Korea “has a calibrated and practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy with the North.”
US officials have suggested that Biden pursues a middle course policy between his predecessors – Donald Trump’s direct dealings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Barack Obama’s “strategic patience”. Some experts say Biden is unlikely to give North Korea any major sanction relief unless it takes concrete denuclearization steps first.
The North Korean statement indirectly criticized the review of the Biden government, saying the new policy was viewed by other countries as “just a trickery.”