Kim Jong Un: North Korea must be prepared for ‘confrontation’ with U.S.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public pronouncements on the United States under the Biden administration on Friday, saying Pyongyang must be “prepared for both dialogue and confrontation” with Washington, according to state-run media.

Kim emphasized that North Korea should “especially … get fully prepared for confrontation in order to protect the dignity of our state and its interests for independent development and to reliably guarantee the peaceful environment and the security of our state,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.

The comments were made during the third day of a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

Kim “made detailed analysis of the policy tendency of the newly emerged U.S. administration” and “clarified appropriate strategic and tactical counteraction,” KCNA reported.

He also called for “sharply and promptly reacting to and coping with the fast-changing situation and concentrating efforts on taking stable control of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

The Biden administration completed its policy review toward North Korea in April, one which officials say will take a “calibrated and practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy” with Pyongyang.

Kim’s comments are the first time he has mentioned the Biden administration directly. A statement from another official in KCNA last month slammed the results of a May summit between Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The statement called Washington’s decision to lift missile development restrictions on Seoul a “hostile act,” and called the Biden administration’s new policy approach “just trickery.”

“The target of the DPRK is not the [S]outh Korean army but the U.S.,” the statement warned. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.

Kim’s remarks appear to be more measured, leaving the door open for dialogue. They come ahead of the first visit by Washington’s new special envoy for North Korea to Seoul.

Ambassador Sung Kim, named special envoy last month, will meet for trilateral talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts over a five-day trip starting Saturday, the State Dept. announced on Thursday.

At the plenary meeting, Kim also addressed the need on the domestic front to “stabilize and improve the people’s living under the present situation.”

The plenary adopted a resolution on “unconditionally fulfilling the grain production plan by concentrating efforts of the entire Party, the whole army and all the people on the farming for this year.”

Kim addressed an ongoing food shortage at the opening of the plenary meeting on Wednesday, saying the situation is “now getting tense” due to crops being damaged by a series of typhoons last year.

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