North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has told his country to be prepared for “both dialogue and confrontation” with the United States, according to state media on Friday.
The news comes after the North Korean leader reemerged after months out of the spotlight, looking notably thinner. He has ignored attempts from Washington to restart nuclear negotiations in recent months. His comments are the first directed at President Joe Biden since he’s taken office and the first since the White House released details how they would deal with the threat from Pyongyang.
The state-controlled KCNA news agency reported that Kim gave a “detailed analysis” of Biden’s North Korea policy at a meeting on Thursday. According to the outlet, Kim “stressed the need to get prepared for both dialogue and confrontation, especially to get fully prepared for confrontation.”
Kim’s comments also come just days before a visit to South Korea by Sung Kim, the top U.S. official on North Korea. Sung Kim will hold meetings with both South Korean and Japanese officials in Seoul on Saturday.
The Biden administration has worked on a new approach to North Korea’s nuclear program, which describes the approach as “calibrated and practical.” At the G-7 Summit last week, the world’s leaders called for complete denuclearization of the along with the “verifiable and irreversible abandonment” of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
The meeting started with Kim announcing to expect extended COVID-19 restrictions and said North Korea would extend its border closure despite the stress on its economy.
Back in March, North Korea’s military performed its first short-range ballistic missile tests in a year but is still holding back on North Korea’s advancing nuclear arsenal. Kim may partially reduce its nuclear testing in phased steps if the Biden administration relaxes sanctions.