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Kim Jong Un sends first official message to Biden

Posted June. 19, 2021 07:18,   

Updated June. 19, 2021 07:18


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that the North needs to prepare for both "dialogue and confrontation" with the U.S. This is Kim’s first official response to the U.S.’ policy toward North Korea since the launch of the Joe Biden administration. North Korea’s announcement of the message right before the visit of U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim from Saturday to Sunday is seen as a sign that the North is considering the resumption of its dialogue with the U.S.

“We need to be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation in order to protect the dignity of our state and its interests for independent development,” said Kim at the third plenary session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, according to the Korean Central News Agency on Friday. He stressed that the country needs to get fully prepared for confrontation. He also called for sharply and promptly reacting to and coping with the fast-changing situation and concentrating efforts on taking stable control of the situation on the Korean Peninsula. It is understood as a sign that North Korea will develop its response strategy to changes in international affairs, including the relations between North Korea and the U.S. and tensions between the U.S. and China.

As North Korea mentioned “stable control” of the situation on the Korean Peninsula after months of no response to the Biden administration’s dialogue suggestion, some anticipate that the North may come to the negotiating table. “Mentioning both dialogue and confrontation seems to be the extension of the North’s principle of ‘responding to power with power and goodwill with goodwill,’ but Kim did not mention the revoking of policies hostile toward the country as preconditions for dialogue unlike he did before,” said Hong Min, a research fellow of the Korea Institute for National Unification. “His message can be interpreted as putting more emphasis on dialogue, than confrontation.”

Oh-Hyuk Kwon hyuk@donga.com