Seoul, January 14
North Korea on Friday berated the Biden administration for imposing fresh sanctions against the country over its latest missile tests and warned of stronger and more explicit action if Washington maintains its "confrontational stance".
In a statement carried by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesperson defended the North's recent launches of purported hypersonic missiles as a righteous exercise of self-defence.
The spokesperson said the new sanctions underscore hostile US intent aimed at "isolating and stifling" the North despite Washington's repeated calls for Pyongyang to resume diplomacy that has stalled over disagreements about sanctions relief and nuclear disarmament steps.
The Biden administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on five North Koreans over their roles in obtaining equipment and technology for the North's missile programs in its response to the North's latest missile test this week and also said it would seek new UN sanctions.
The announcement by the Treasury Department came just hours after North Korea said leader Kim Jong Un oversaw a successful test of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday that he claimed would greatly increase the country's nuclear "war deterrent".
The North Korean spokesperson accused the United States of maintaining a "gangster-like" stance, saying that the North's development of the new missile is part of its efforts to modernise its military and does not target any specific country or threaten the security of its neighbours.
"Nevertheless, the US is intentionally escalating the situation even with the activation of independent sanctions, not content with referring the DPRK's just activity to the UN Security Council," the spokesperson said, using an abbreviation of North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"This shows that though the present US administration is trumpeting about diplomacy and dialogue, it is still engrossed in its policy for isolating and stifling the DPRK ... If the US adopts such a confrontational stance, the DPRK will be forced to take stronger and certain reaction to it," the spokesperson said. AP