It looks like US-North Korea relations are almost back to their "daily test ICBM launch" level.
On Sunday, North Korea lashed out at Joe Biden’s recent comments labeling the country a serious threat, while unleashing a torrent of insults at South Korea for not stopping activists from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.
North Korea's outburst followed a Washington Post report that the Biden administration has decided to pursue a phased agreement that leads to full denuclearization in North Korea. Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the country’s Department of U.S. Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, said in a statement that Biden’s comment on North Korea was “intolerable”, and also followed a statement by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki who said Friday the U.S. has completed a review of its North Korea policy.
"This becomes an evident sign that it is girding itself up for an all-out showdown,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said of the U.S. in a statement issued by KCNA. “We have warned the U.S. sufficiently enough to understand that it will get hurt if it provokes us."
The hollow threat also comes as Biden is scheduled to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on May 21, with Seoul saying that North Korea would be high on the agenda. As Bloomberg notes, Moon is set to become the second foreign leader to visit the White House since Biden’s inauguration, after Japan’s prime minister, and the announcement comes as Biden’s administration is reviewing its policy on trying to end North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
In a separate statement, North Korea warned that Seoul will pay a price for allowing a defector group in the South for sending 500,000 leaflets on the brutality of the Kim Jong Un regime.
"We regard the maneuvers committed by the human wastes in the South as a serious provocation against our state," Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, adding that Pyongyang will “look into corresponding action.”
Of course, not a day seems to pass these days without North Korea threatening to obliterate its southern neighbor, and in this case the "first sister" warning echoed her warning from June that South Korea would pay a “dear price” if it continued to allow “mongrel dogs” to send the leaflets. Shortly after that, North Korea blew up a $15 million joint liaison office built by South Korea north of the border that served as a de facto embassy -- destroying one of the most tangible symbols of Moon’s rapprochement efforts.
Moon’s progressive camp passed legislation in December that criminalizes sending leaflets to North Korea, months after Kim’s regime demanded action to stop what it called the “human scum” behind the messages.