North Korea suggests it may resume nuclear tests amid tensions with US

North Korean government says it can no longer overlook the ‘hostile policy and military threat by the US’

Sravasti Dasgupta
Thursday 20 January 2022 10:47
Comments
<p>In this photo provided by the North Korean government, leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang on 19 January</p>

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang on 19 January

North Korea has threatened to resume its nuclear and ballistic missile tests and prepare for “long term confrontation” with the US, state media reported on Thursday.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on Wednesday, called by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to state media Korean Central News Agency.

The meeting came a week after the US imposed fresh sanctions in the wake of four ballistic missile tests carried out by North Korea this month.

“The hostile policy and military threat by the US have reached a danger line that cannot be overlooked any more,” state media said.

At the meeting, the politburo ordered a reconsideration of trust-building measures and “promptly examining the issue of restarting” all temporarily-suspended activities, possibly referring to North Korea’s nuclear and inter-continental ballistic missile programs.

It also said that the North should “make more thorough preparation for a long-term confrontation with the US imperialists” and “increase our physical strength for defending” the rights and interests of the nation, according to state media.

The latest threat came just hours before a closed-door UN Security Council meeting to discuss Pyongyang’s recent ballistic tests.

A White House National Security Council spokesperson said that Washington would continue its efforts in coordination with the international community to prevent advances in North Korea’s weapons programmes.

“We remain prepared to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy without preconditions to make tangible progress,” the spokesperson added.

North Korea’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests have been suspended since 2018 when Mr Kim imposed a self-imposed moratorium as he began talks with then US president Donald Trump.

However, negotiations have been stalled since 2019, when the US rejected North Korea’s demand for relief in relation to major sanctions in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear weapons.

It had promised to boost its nuclear arsenal at the end of 2019 but Mr Kim’s plans were put on hold with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the resultant strict lockdown that he imposed.

Experts said that the new threats could be an attempt by North Korea to exert pressure on the Biden administration to provide relief from sanctions as the country reels from an economic crisis amid strict border lockdowns.

In September 2017, North Korea conducted its sixth and last test of a nuclear explosive device while its last launch of an ICBM was in November 2017.

Additional reporting by agencies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in