North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is calling on his state to prepare for both dialogue and confrontation with the US.
It is Kim’s first reaction to the election of US President Joe Biden. The announcement comes days after North Korea reported significant economic problems and the threat of food shortages.
Kim made his statement during a meeting of top leaders of his communist party. He called on them to prepare, both for a dialogue and a confrontation with the US, but “especially for a confrontation”.
It is Kim’s first response to Joe Biden taking office in the United States at the beginning of this year. Until now, the Stalinist regime in Pyongyang had ignored diplomatic communications with Washington. Kim clearly doesn’t know how to deal with Biden yet. Almost certainly, no new summits are planned as previously with his predecessor Donald Trump, but how the communication should be is not yet clear.
As usual, Kim uses tough language, but the problems in North Korea are piling up. In addition to the stranglehold of strict international sanctions that put pressure on the economy and the regime, the border with ally China has also been closed due to corona fears and crop failures after a hurricane threatens. A few days ago, Kim herself warned about possible food shortages.
So the North Korean regime is certainly not in a position of strength, but that is precisely why it can be dangerous. Biden himself prefers a combination of deterrence, sanctions pressure and diplomacy. Time seems to be playing in favour of the US and its allies South Korea and Japan.