North Korea indicated it may go back on certain concessions made to the U.S. after President Biden hit the hermit kingdom with new sanctions.
The isolated nation in recent weeks stepped up its weapons tests, including the test of supposed hypersonic weapons such as glide vehicles. The Biden administration hit five North Korean officials with sanctions in relation to the tests.
The sixth meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee convened this week, with party General Secretary Kim Jong Un in attendance. The Politburo discussed a number of “confidence-building measures,” one of which may be to backtrack on a self-imposed moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles in response to the sanctions.
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“He’s not saying all bets are off, but it’s a strong indicator that they’re moving” towards testing again, Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told NK News.
KCNA Watch translated state media reports that the Politburo discussed how the U.S. “viciously slurred” North Korea and “committed the foolish act of taking over 20 independent sanctions measures.”
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North Korean officials claimed that the U.S. “reached a danger line that cannot be overlooked anymore” and that the nation must consider “practical action” to defend its “dignity, sovereign rights and interests.”
The U.S. hit individuals in Russia and China with sanctions for their roles in providing equipment and helping to develop technology for the recently tested hypersonic weapons.
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The sanctions will freeze any assets the five officials maintain in U.S. jurisdictions and bar any American from conducting business with them. Any foreign company or individual who conducts business with the officials may also face penalties.
“The DPRK’s latest missile launches are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community’s calls for diplomacy and denuclearization,” said Treasury’s chief of terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson.
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North Korea previously agreed to a number of concessions during the Trump administration, including a statement on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when and how that would occur.
Kim unilaterally suspended nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests during discussions with Washington and Seoul, but continued a series of short-range missile tests during that time.
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.