N Korea slams US, hints at resuming nuclear tests

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) – Accusing the United States (US) of hostility and threats, North Korea yesterday said it will consider restarting “all temporally-suspended activities” it had paused during its diplomacy with the Trump administration, in an apparent threat to resume testing of nuclear explosives and long-range missiles.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said leader Kim Jong-un presided over a Politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party where officials set policy goals for “immediately bolstering” military capabilities to counter the Americans’ “hostile moves”.

Officials gave instructions to “reconsider in an overall scale the trust-building measures that we took on our own initiative… and to promptly examine the issue of restarting all temporally-suspended activities”, the KCNA said.

Experts said Kim is reviving an old playbook of brinkmanship to extract concessions from Washington and neighbours as he grapples with a decaying economy crippled by the pandemic, mismanagement and US-led sanctions over his nuclear ambitions. The North has been ramping up its weapons demonstrations recently, including four rounds of missile launches, in an apparent effort to pressure Washington over a prolonged freeze in nuclear diplomacy.

The North’s Foreign Ministry had already warned of stronger action after the Biden administration last week imposed fresh sanctions over its continued missile tests. The UN Security Council scheduled a closed-door meeting yesterday to discuss North Korea and non-proliferation matters.

People watch North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on a news programme at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. PHOTO: AP