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North Korea threatens US with nukes and ‘long-term’ fight

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and Kim Yong Chol, Vice Chairman of the North Korean Workers' Party Committee, meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
January 20, 2022

North Korea threatened on Thursday to prepare for a long-term fight with the United States and restart nuclear testing it had paused during peace talks with former President Donald Trump’s administration.

During a meeting of the Central Committee of North Korea’s sole political party, the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), North Korean leader Kim Jong Un criticized the U.S. for condemning a series of recent ballistic missile tests, which he described as a “legitimate exercise of sovereignty.” In remarks first reported by North Korean state media and shared by KCNA Watch, the ruling communist party discussed ways to increasingly orient its military against the U.S., including restarting the nuclear weapons tests.

The communist party committee said North Korea would need new ways to counter the U.S. because of continued U.S. military drills with South Korea and because the U.S. “viciously slurred our state and committed the foolish act of taking over 20 independent sanctions measures.” The committee said President Joe Biden’s administration “especially . . . persists in maneuvers to deprive the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] of its right to self-defence.”

Kim further threatened North Korea will build its military to pose a greater threat to the U.S.

“The hostile policy and military threat by the U.S. have reached a danger line that can not be overlooked anymore despite our sincere efforts for maintaining the general tide for relaxation of tension in the Korean peninsula since the DPRK-U.S. summit in Singapore,” the communist party committee said.

The committee said it reached a unanimous conclusion to “make more thorough preparation for a long-term confrontation with the U.S. imperialism.”

According to KCNA Watch, Kim ordered North Korean officials to “promptly examine the issue of restarting all temporarily suspended activities.” Those remarks appear to refer to a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear testing that began in 2018 as it agreed to talk about denuclearization with the Trump administration.

While North Korea has conducted dozens of missile tests since talks with the Trump administration stalled in 2019, it has not conducted any new nuclear tests since 2017. While North Korea has not conducted any new nuclear weapons tests, there have been signs over the last two years of North Korea taking steps towards restarting its nuclear program, including building new uranium centrifuges and expanding uranium enrichment facilities.

The North Korean leaders discussed resuming those temporarily suspended nuclear tests and all other “trust-building measures that we took on our own initiative on a preferential ground” during the period of denuclearization talks.