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North Korea Warns U.S. Over Biden's 'Big Blunder'

North Korea warned on Sunday that the United States will face a grave situation if it continues to pursue its "hostile policy" toward Pyongyang's nuclear program. The statement, attributed to Kwon Jong Gun, head of the Foreign Ministry's department of U.S. affairs, comes as the Biden administration is set to unveil a new strategy to deal with the isolated Asian nation.

The statement said President Biden made a "big blunder" when he called North Korea's and Iran's nuclear programs a security threat during a speech before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Biden said he would work with allies to address the threats with "diplomacy and stern deterrence."

The statement, published on a government news site, warned that North Korea could respond with "corresponding measures."

On Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration had completed a "thorough, rigorous and inclusive" policy review of North Korea. She said the administration's goal is aimed at completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula — something she noted the past four administrations had not achieved. The administration will not focus on achieving a grand bargain or rely on strategic patience, she said.

Former President Donald Trump sought to develop a personal relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with a goal of striking a grand bargain to curb the country's nuclear program. This was a dramatically different approach from that of former President Barack Obama, who believed patient diplomacy would prompt change in Pyongyang.

North Korea's latest comments indicate its determination to continue its nuclear program. Analysts expect North Korea to test Biden's mettle with provocative actions. It launched two short-range ballistic missiles in late March.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jackie Northam is NPR's International Affairs Correspondent. She is a veteran journalist who has spent three decades reporting on conflict, geopolitics, and life across the globe - from the mountains of Afghanistan and the desert sands of Saudi Arabia, to the gritty prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the pristine beauty of the Arctic.
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