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WASHINGTON -- The United States government finds it "disappointing" that North Korea continues to prioritize its weapons development, a senior US official said Saturday, calling on the communist state to return to denuclearization negotiations.

The official, while speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US remains committed to the countries' denuclearization agreement signed by US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in their first bilateral summit held in Singapore in June 2018.

"It is disappointing to see the DPRK continuing to prioritize its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile program," the official told Yonhap News Agency.

"The United States remains guided by the vision President Trump and Chairman Kim set forth in Singapore and calls on the DPRK to engage in sustained and substantive negotiations to achieve complete denuclearization," he added, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The remarks came hours after the communist state staged a massive military parade, showcasing a new intercontinental ballistic missile that is believed to be its largest so far.

John Supple, a spokesperson for the US Department of Defense, said the US was analyzing the event in consultation with its Asian allies.

"We are aware of reports related to the parade. Our analysis is ongoing and we are consulting with our Allies in the region," he told Yonhap.

The North's newly disclosed ICBM was carried on a transporter erector launcher (TEL) with 22 wheels, indicating it is longer than any of the previous long-range missiles.

"Such a massive road-mobile missile -- likely the biggest such missile on the planet -- would have the capability to add either increased range or be able to carry a bigger payload," said Harry Kazianis, senior director of Korean studies at a Washington-based policy think tank, the Institute for the National Interest.

In a midnight speech marking the 75th founding anniversary of the North's ruling Workers' Party, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country will never use its defense capabilities "as a means for preemptive strike," but that it will continue to build up its war deterrent.

"But, if, and if, any forces infringe upon the security of our state and attempt to have recourse to military force against us, I will enlist all our most powerful offensive strength in advance to punish them," he added.

Kim made no mention of the United States, which is traditionally a key topic of any major speech given by a North Korean leader.(Yonhap)

http://m.koreaherald.com/amp/view.php?ud=20201011000022

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Another DPRK military parade showing new SLBMs.

newslbm.jpg

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North Korea staged a military parade Thursday evening in central Pyongyang, showing off its state-of-the-art weapons, including a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), state media reported Friday.

The parade, held in Kim Il-sung Square, came after Pyongyang wrapped up its eight-day congress of the ruling Workers' Party on Tuesday, at which leader Kim Jong-un pledged to bolster the country's nuclear arsenal.

North Korea appears to be aiming to up the ante ahead of next week's inauguration of Joe Biden as new president of the United States amid uncertainty over Washington's policy direction on currently stalled denuclearization talks.

Unveiled during the parade was a new type of SLBM.

"The world's most powerful weapon, submarine-launch ballistic missile, entered the square one after another, powerfully demonstrating the might of the revolutionary armed forces," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Photos and recorded footage later released by state media showed the SLBMs displayed during the parade labeled as the Pukguksong-5ㅅ, which looks longer than the Pukguksong-4ㅅ SLBM, first unveiled during a military parade in October last year.

The North, however, appears to have not displayed its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Clad in a long black leather coat and wearing a big furry hat, leader Kim attended the event. He was seen saluting back to goosestepping soldiers with smiles on his face and sometimes giving a thumbs-up to the weapons rolling through the square.

He did not address the event. Instead, Defense Minister Kim Jong-gwan delivered a speech.

Columns of armored vehicles moved through the square, followed by state-of-the-art tactical missiles and other weaponry.

Fighter jets were seen flying in formation and drawing the number "eight" in the sky with fireworks in celebration of the eighth party congress.

Thousands of spectators were seen frantically waving flags and chanting "hurrah" to the leader, with some even shedding tears.

Marching soldiers participating in the parade appeared to be breathing heavily as the event took place at night in freezing cold weather. The participants, including leader Kim and other top officials, were not wearing face masks.

Kim's powerful sister Kim Yo-jong was also spotted dressed in a long black leather coat, applauding as the military parade proceeded.

The parade was attended by other senior officials, including Choe Ryong-hae, the North's No. 2 leader, and Jo Yong-won, a senior party official who is believed to have jumped to the country's No. 3 position at the party congress.

Thursday's parade came two days after the rare party congress which was held for more than a week until Tuesday.

During the congress, Kim unveiled a new five-year economic development scheme focusing on self-reliance in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and Washington-led global sanctions on his regime.

He defined the U.S. as the "foremost principal enemy," saying that his country is developing new weapons systems, such as a nuclear-powered submarine, while pledging to bolster its nuclear arsenal.

Experts said the North appears to be sending a message to the U.S. by showcasing its new SLBM and others ahead of Biden's inauguration. 

"North Korea doesn't need an SLBM. It is not for the South, it's for the U.S. In that aspect, it sends a message aimed at pressuring the U.S. ahead of the incoming Biden administration,"

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, said.

"But the North is not sending a message to the U.S. warning that it will take action. It is sending an unspoken message to force the incoming administration to prioritize North Korea in their policies and to withdraw hostile policy against the North," he added.

Nuclear talks have remained stalled since a no-deal summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in 2019 as they failed to find common ground on how to match Pyongyang's denuclearization steps with Washington's sanctions relief.

Kim has expressed frustration with a lack of progress in denuclearization talks and has called for self-reliance in military, economic development and many other areas.

The North last staged a massive nighttime military parade in October to mark the 75th founding anniversary of the Workers' Party and showed off a new ICBM and an SLBM. (Yonhap)

 

http://m.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20210115000842

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Date 09.02.2021

North Korea developed nuclear and ballistic missiles through 2020, violating sanctions — UN

According to a confidential UN report, Iran also co-operated with North Korea on the development of long-range missiles.

North Korea developed nuclear and ballistic missiles throughout 2020, violating international sanctions, according to multiple reports that cited a confidential UN report sent to members of the Security Council.

The report stated that North Korea funded the programs through $300 million (€250 million) stolen from cyber attacks, and continued to seek material and technology to fund these programs.

The report cited an unnamed member state that had assessed that North Korea's missiles could mount a "nuclear device."

The UN report stated that the secretive country had displayed new short-range, medium-range, submarine-launched and intercontinental ballistic missile systems at military parades.

"It (North Korea) announced preparation for testing and production of new ballistic missile warheads and, development of tactical nuclear weapons ... and upgraded its ballistic missile infrastructure," said the report.

The leaked UN report comes at a time when the US state department has said that it would undertake a "new approach" towards North Korea, which could include tactics like pressure options and diplomacy.

According to Reuters, North Korea's UN mission in New York didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the leaked report.

Iran's involvement

The report found that Iran co-operated with North Korea on the development of long-range missile projects in 2020.

"This resumed co-operation is said to have included the transfer of critical parts, with the most recent shipment associated with this relationship taking place in 2020," said an independent panel of experts in the report.

According to Bloomberg, Iran's Shahid Haj Ali Movahed Research Center reportedly received support and assistance from North Korean missile specialists for a launch vehicle. North Korea also made some shipments to Iran.

Iran reportedly told the panel members involved in the report that "false information and fabricated data may have been used in investigations and analyzes of the panel".

The new US administration, headed by Joe Biden, has repeatedly emphasized to Iran that it has to return to complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

https://www.dw.com/en/north-korea-developed-nuclear-and-ballistic-missiles-through-2020-violating-sanctions-un/a-56504725

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Date 18.03.2021

North Korea says it won't engage with the US due to 'hostile policy'

The Joe Biden administration is a "new regime" with "groundless rhetoric" and the US needs to reverse its hostility if it's serious about talks, the North Korean government said.

North Korea said on Thursday it would ignore an offer from the United States for talks unless Washington reverses its hostile policy.

Earlier this week, the White House offered an olive branch to Pyongyang, saying it had made efforts to communicate with the North Korean government, but that so far these overtures had fallen on deaf ears.

And a statement from North Korea's Choe Son Hui, the first foreign minister, suggested that wasn't likely to change any time soon.

There could be no contact nor dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang "unless the US rolls back its hostile policy towards the DPRK", Choe said in a statement carried Thursday by the official Korean Central News Agency, referring to the North by its official name.

'Lunatic theory'

"What has been heard from the US since the emergence of the new regime is only a lunatic theory of 'threat from North Korea' and groundless rhetoric about 'complete denuclearization,'" Choe said, describing the offer for talks as a "time-delaying trick."

"Therefore, we will disregard such an attempt from the US in the future, too," she added.

Choe's comments came as US and South Korean foreign and defense chiefs met in Seoul for talks over North Korea's nuclear program.

After the meeting, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States would complete its North Korea policy review in the coming weeks, and that both pressure and diplomatic options are on the table.

Blinken also said China has a key role to play in any "denuclearization" efforts regarding North Korea.

US-South Korea drills deemed a threat

Earlier this week, Kim Yo Jong — the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — criticized recent US-South Korean military exercises that her government views as threatening.

And Choe also took issue with this month's drills, saying that the United States "openly started aggression-minded joint military exercises targeting us."

https://www.dw.com/en/north-korea-says-it-wont-engage-with-the-us-due-to-hostile-policy/a-56909644

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Date 26.03.2021

North Korea: UN calls for investigation into missile launch

North Korea has said its missile launches are a "right to self defense," as Pyongyang tests the new administration in the White House.

A UN sanctions committee on Friday called for a panel of experts to investigate North Korea's latest missile launch, as the UN Security Council weighs its response to renewed saber-rattling from Pyongyang.

Earlier Friday, North Korea said it had launched a "new type" of ballistic missile on Thursday.

The call for an investigation comes as the UN Security Council extended the mandate by 13 months of UN experts overseeing sanctions imposed against North Korea.

[...]

The latest expert report in February said Pyongyang is modernizing its arsenal of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles by evading UN sanctions and using cyberattacks to finance its weapons programs.

The new resolution calls for UN experts to present an interim report by August 3 and a full and final report by January 28, 2022.

First test of the Biden administration 

Thursday's missile launch was the first by North Korea since US President Joe Biden took office on January 20. North Korea has in the past used missile tests to get a feeling for how new US administrations will respond

Following the launch, Biden said: "There will be responses if they choose to escalate. We will respond accordingly."

Early Saturday, a senior North Korean official issued a statement carried on the state-run KCNA news agency saying Biden's criticism had revealed a "deep-seated hostility" and warned Washington against making "thoughtless remarks."

"We express our deep apprehension over the US chief executive faulting the regular testfire, an exercise of our state's right to self-defense, as the violation of UN 'resolutions,'" the statement said. 

[...]

https://www.dw.com/en/north-korea-un-calls-for-investigation-into-missile-launch/a-57022123

Not quite sure what improvements they have in mind with these repeated tests of the Biden administration ... miniaturize its payload, increase its range, improve its accuracy, or all of the above?

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March 21st, DPRK launched a couple of cruise missiles - no issue.

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US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that "nothing much has changed" despite North Korea's launch of short-range missiles, as senior US officials said the firings were not in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

"We've learned nothing much has changed," Biden told reporters before boarding Air Force One en route to Washington from Columbus, Ohio, where he was making a visit to promote the American Rescue Plan.

He also said the missile launches were not considered a provocation.

"No, according to the defense department, it's business as usual," he said later in Washington, according to White House pool reports. "There's no new wrinkle in what they did."

North Korea fired two cruise missiles off its west coast Sunday, military sources said in Seoul.

Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles are not sanctioned by UN Security Council resolutions. The North has maintained a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing since late 2017.

Senior US officials confirmed the latest launches were not in violation of UN. resolutions.

"We're also aware of military activity last weekend by DPRK that is not sanctioned under UN Security Council resolutions, restricting the ballistic missile program," a senior administration official said in a telephonic press briefing.

"We do not publicly respond to every kind of test. What I think (we) are trying to underscore for you is that this is a system that is not covered by UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions," a second administration official told reporters, while speaking on condition of anonymity.

US officials said Washington will continue to engage North Korea, calling the recent missile launches part of "normal testing.

The US officials reiterated that while the UNSC resolutions covered "almost every kind of missile and nuclear activity," the short-range missiles launched by the North over the weekend did not fall in the categories covered by the UNSC resolutions.

"And so because this does not, it probably gives you an indication of where it falls on the spectrum of concern," one of the officials said.

"It is a normal part of the kind of testing that North Korea would do," the official said. "We do not believe that it is in our best interest to hype these things in circumstances."

US officials said Washington will continue to engage North Korea.

"I will underscore that we have taken efforts, and we will continue to take efforts, and we believe that such diplomacy in close coordination with South Korea and Japan, and frankly with China, is in the best interest of all those concerned. We don't want a situation where it's perceived that our door is not open to talk," one of the officials said.

The US earlier said it has tried to reach out to North Korea since mid-February, but that Pyongyang has remained unresponsive. North Korea's first vice foreign minister, Choe Son-hui, has said her country will continue to ignore US overtures until Washington gives up its hostile policy toward Pyongyang.

"All I can tell you is that we are on our fourth foot in terms of wanting to clearly signal that we are prepared for continuing engagement in Northeast Asia with key partners and indeed with North Korea," one official said.

The Biden administration has been undertaking a comprehensive review of its North Korea policy, which Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier said will lead to a "new" US approach toward the recalcitrant North.

The officials said the policy review is now in its final stages.

They added National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will host his South Korean and Japanese counterparts next week in Washington to discuss the outcome of the US policy review.

"We are in the final stages of that review, and next week we plan to host the national security advisers of Japan and the Republic of Korea to discuss the outcomes and other issues," they said, referring to South Korea by its official name.

They said next week's meeting here will be "about a daylong." (Yonhap)

 

http://www01.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20210324000070

 

 

March 25th, DPRK launched a couple of new type BMs of range 600km - issue if they keep it up as it violated UN resolution.

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US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that the United States will respond appropriately should North Korea continue to escalate tension, but that it is also prepared for diplomacy with the recalcitrant regime.

Biden noted the launch of the missiles on Thursday (Seoul time) was in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

"Let me say that, number one, UN resolution 1718 was violated by those particular missiles that were tested," Biden said in his first formal press conference since taking office on Jan. 20. "We are consulting with our allies and partners, and there will be responses if they choose to escalate. We will respond accordingly," he added.

North Korea launched what appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, US and South Korean military officials said earlier.

Pyongyang is prohibited from testing any type of ballistic missiles under the UN Security Council resolution.

Biden's remarks marked the first official reaction from Washington to the North's latest missile launch.

Pyongyang fired two cruise missiles on Sunday, which Biden had shrugged off as "business as usual."

"We've learned nothing much has changed," Biden said of the cruise missiles, which, according to US officials, are not "covered" or prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea.

Biden said diplomacy is still possible, despite the North's launch of ballistic missiles in violation of the UN resolution.

However, diplomacy, he said, "has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearization."

Many North Korea observers believe Pyongyang may have precisely timed its first serious provocation in over a year to take place just before Biden's first press conference.

North Korea last launched a ballistic missile in March 2020.

North Korea experts have long warned that Pyongyang may try to force itself onto the agenda of the new Biden administration by staging military provocations such as missile launches.

"In the months ahead, we should expect the North Koreans to test bigger and more advanced missiles," said Harry Kazianis, senior director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest think tank. "We should also expect a fiery response when the Biden North Korea policy is announced, which likely will be a pressure strategy to get the Kim regime to give up its nuclear weapons."

The US is undertaking a comprehensive review of its North Korea policy, and senior administration officials have said the review is now in its final stages.

Next week, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will host his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Washington to discuss the outcome of the North Korea policy review and their next steps, the officials said earlier.

North Korea has maintained a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests since November 2017, about two months after it conducted its sixth nuclear test.

However, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said last year that he no longer felt bound by such restrictions. (Yonhap)

 

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20210326000128
 

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SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea launched a “newly developed new-type tactical guided projectile” on Thursday, state news agency KCNA reported on Friday, as the United States condemned the launches and warned of a threat to international peace and security.

The launches, which were the country’s first ballistic missile tests in nearly a year, underscored steady progress in its weapons programme amid stalled denuclearisation talks with the United States.

President Joe Biden said on Thursday the United States remained open to diplomacy with North Korea despite its missile tests this week, but warned there would be responses if North Korea escalates matters.

The State Department later condemned the ballistic missile launches as destabilising. “These launches violate multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and threaten the region and the broader international community,” a State Department spokesman said.

The new weapon is based on existing technology that was improved to carry a 2.5-ton warhead, KCNA reported.

KCNA said the two weapons accurately struck a target 600 km (373 miles) off North Korea’s east coast, which conflicts with estimates by South Korean and Japanese authorities who said the missiles flew about 420-450 km.

“The development of this weapon system is of great significance in bolstering up the military power of the country and deterring all sorts of military threats,” Ri Pyong Chol, the senior leader who oversaw the test, said, according to KCNA.

Photos released by state media showed a black-and-white painted missile blasting off from a military launch vehicle.

Missile specialists at the California-based James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) said it appeared to be a missile that was unveiled at a major military parade in Pyongyang in October.

 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles/north-korea-says-it-tested-new-tactical-guided-projectile-on-thursday-kcna-idUSKBN2BH3CT

 

 

DPRK calls US and UN criticizing double standard.

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North Korea on Monday denounced the United Nations for applying a “double standard” in criticizing Pyongyang’s recent missile test, accusing the international organization of infringing on the North’s sovereignty.
 
Jo Chol-su, director general of the department of international organizations within North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, issued a statement via the state-run Korea Central News Agency on Monday, after Pyongyang test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles last week, as the UN Security Council reportedly plans to hold a closed-door meeting Tuesday.
 
The UNSC’s sanctions committee on North Korea gathered for a meeting Friday, and Jo said the US called for the imposition of additional sanctions and the tightening of existing measures against Pyongyang, while denouncing the test as a violation of UN resolutions.
 
Jo said “it does not make any sense” that only the North’s “righteous self-defensive measures should be singled out for denunciation” when many other countries around the world fire all kinds of projectiles for the purpose of increasing their military strength.
 
“It constitutes a denial of sovereignty and an apparent double standard that the UNSC takes issue, on the basis of the UN ‘resolutions’ -- direct products of the US hostile policy,” he said.
 
Jo said if the UN continues to use this double standard, “it will only cause an aggravation, not amelioration, of situation and confrontation, not dialogue” on the Korean Peninsula. He also warned of countermeasures.
 
On Friday, North Korea confirmed that it had tested a new tactical guided missile the previous day. The test-firing, the North’s first major provocation since US President Joe Biden took office in January, comes as Washington is in the final stages of an ongoing policy review on the reclusive regime. Observers say the US could push for additional sanctions against North Korea, which could then provoke Pyongyang to further retaliate and escalate tension on the Korean Peninsula.
 
In responding to the North’s statement, South Korea’s Unification Ministry, in charge of inter-Korean affairs, stressed Monday that it was “not desirable” to take action that could hinder efforts to create momentum for talks.
 
“Now is the time for the two Koreas and the US to make efforts to resume talks, and I would like to stress that any action that could make it difficult to establish a mood for talks is not desirable,” Lee Jong-joo, the ministry’s spokesperson, told a regular press briefing.
 
The ministry, emphasizing that military tensions should not be created under any circumstances, said it would continue to make efforts to achieve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, establish peace on the peninsula and advance inter-Korean ties.

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20210329000898&np=1&mp=1

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I guess this means no more "beautiful letters" between Pyongyang and DC.

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Date 01.05.2021

US open to 'practical' diplomacy with North Korea

The White House says Joe Biden is aiming for a realistic approach towards North Korea's denuclearization rather than his predecessor's "grand bargain" strategy.

US President Joe Biden is seeking "a calibrated, practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy" with North Korea on denuclearization, the White House said on Friday.

The remarks came after the White House completed a review of US policy towards North Korea. Biden had promised in his election campaign to take a U-turn from his predecessors' policies. 

"Our goal remains the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Biden's press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters.

US drops ambitions for 'grand bargain'

It is unclear what kind of diplomatic course the US would take, but Psaki signaled that Biden had learned from previous administrations. 

Washington would not "focus on achieving a grand bargain," Psaki said, apparently referring to the kind of dramatic over-arching deal that former President Donald Trump suggested after meeting North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

But the White House would also avoid the more standoff approach called "strategic patience," adopted by Barack Obama, Psaki said.

[...]

Biden is expected to focus more on consulting with Japan and South Korea rather than develop a rapport with Kim. 

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, due to visit the White House in May, had urged Biden to engage directly with Kim on denuclearization.

https://www.dw.com/en/us-open-to-practical-diplomacy-with-north-korea/a-57395131

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Yay!

I'm soo optimistic that the "calibrated approach" will yield the brilliant idea that nobody thought of in the last 30 years. In a year or two when no such idea could be found in "more consultation" the State Department will yell "look squirrel" to the press and silently kick the can further down the road in the hope that it will become the next president's acute problem.

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Date 02.05.2021

North Korea dismisses 'spurious' US diplomacy

North Korea has warned Washington will face "a very grave situation'' over President Joe Biden's "big blunder" of calling Pyongyang a security threat.

North Korea signaled rejecting the idea of talks with the United States, describing Washington's diplomacy as "spurious," state media reported on Sunday.

The remarks came after US President Joe Biden's administration announced it was open to diplomacy over North Korea's denuclearization.

Diplomacy was a "spurious signboard" for Washington to "cover up its hostile acts," North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by the KCNA news agency.

Biden made a 'big blunder'

Pyongyang warned Biden that he had made a "big blunder" with his "outdated" stance towards North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

The Foreign Ministry also accused the US president of insulting North Korea's leadership by slamming its human rights record.

In a separate statement, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Washington's criticism showed that the US was "girding itself up for an all-out showdown" with Pyongyang.

North Korea "will be compelled to press for corresponding measures, and with time the US will find itself in a very grave situation," the statement read.

However, Pyongyang's officials did not specify what steps they would take. 

[...]

https://www.dw.com/en/north-korea-dismisses-spurious-us-diplomacy/a-57400967

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