North Korea vows ‘overwhelming’ response to new US strategy

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Pyongyang accuses Washington and its regional allies of planning an “armed invasion”

North Korea has warned the United States and its regional allies of a “severe and overwhelming” response to any attempt to launch an “armed invasion” of the country, following the announcement of a new US strategy to counter the nuclear threat from Pyongyang.

The US State Department said on Tuesday that it had completed a comprehensive review of its policy towards North Korea and that it would pursue a “calibrated, practical approach” to achieve the goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The statement did not provide any details on the new strategy but said that the US would continue to consult closely with its allies and partners, especially South Korea and Japan, on the issue.

North Korea’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Wednesday, denouncing the US policy review as a “hostile act” that revealed its “inveterate enmity” towards the country.

The statement said that the US and its allies were “deliberately escalating the situation” by conducting joint military exercises, deploying strategic assets, and imposing sanctions on North Korea.

It also accused the US of seeking to “stifle and suffocate” North Korea by imposing a “long-term blockade” and a “nuclear threat”.

The statement warned that North Korea would “counter the US on the principle of power for power and goodwill for goodwill”, and that it would “resolutely and mercilessly smash any attempt to infringe upon our sovereignty and dignity”.

It also reiterated that North Korea’s nuclear weapons were a “reliable deterrent” that guaranteed its security and survival and that it would not engage in any dialogue or negotiation unless the US dropped its “hostile policy” towards the country.

The statement came amid a prolonged stalemate in the diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff, which have been stalled since the collapse of the second summit between former US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi in February 2019.

The Biden administration has said that it is open to dialogue with North Korea but has also stressed the need for a “coordinated and principled” approach with its allies and partners.

Analysts say that the new US strategy is likely to be a combination of pressure and engagement, but that the prospects for a breakthrough remain uncertain, given the wide gap between the two sides’ positions and expectations.

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