North Korea lashed out at the United States and its allies in South Korea on Sunday in a series of statements saying recent comments from Washington are proof of a hostile policy that requires a corresponding response from Pyongyang.
The statements, carried on state news agency KCNA, come after the White House on Friday said U.S. officials had completed a months-long review of North Korean policy, and underscore the challenges U.S. President Joe Biden faces as he seeks to distance his approach from the failures of his predecessors.
In one statement, a Foreign Ministry spokesman accused Washington of insulting the dignity of the country's supreme leadership by criticizing North Korea's human rights situation.
The human rights criticism is a provocation that shows the United States is "girding itself up for an all-out showdown" with North Korea, and will be answered accordingly, the unnamed spokesman said.
In a separate statement, Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the Department of U.S. Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, cited Biden's first policy speech to Congress on Wednesday, where the new president said nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran posed threats that would be addressed through "diplomacy and stern deterrence."
Kwon said it is illogical and an encroachment upon North Korea's right to self-defence for the United States to call its defensive deterrence a threat.
"His statement clearly reflects his intent to keep enforcing the hostile policy toward the DPRK as it had been done by the U.S. for over half a century," he said, using the initials for North Korea's official name.
Kwon said U.S. talk of diplomacy is aimed at covering up its hostile acts, and its deterrence is just a means for posing nuclear threats to North Korea.
Now that Biden's policy has become clear, North Korea "will be compelled to press for corresponding measures, and with time the U.S. will find itself in a very grave situation," he concluded.