SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his government to be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation with the Biden administration — but more for confrontation — state media reported Friday, days after the United States and others urged the North to abandon its nuclear program and return to talks.
Kim’s statement indicates he’ll likely push to strengthen his nuclear arsenal and increase pressure on Washington to give up what North Korea considers a hostile policy toward the North, though he’ll also prepare for talks to resume, some experts say.
During an ongoing ruling party meeting Thursday, Kim analyzed in detail the policy tendencies of the US under President Joe Biden and clarified steps to be taken in relations with Washington, the Korean Central News Agency said. It did not specify the steps.
Kim “stressed the need to get prepared for both dialogue and confrontation, especially to get fully prepared for confrontation in order to protect the dignity of our state” and ensure national security, it said.
In 2018-19, Kim held a series of summits with then-President Donald Trump to discuss North Korea’s advancing nuclear arsenal. But the negotiations fell apart after Trump rejected Kim’s calls for extensive sanctions relief in return for a partial surrender of his nuclear capability.
Biden’s administration has worked to formulate a new approach on North Korea’s nuclear program that it describes as “calibrated and practical.” Details of his North Korea policy haven’t been publicized, but US officials have suggested Biden will seek a middle ground between Trump’s direct meetings with Kim and former President Barack Obama’s “strategic patience” to curb Kim’s nuclear program.