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Combination images of Kim Jong-un and President Biden. Photo: Michael Ryenolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images/API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

A top North Korean official warned Sunday the U.S. "will find itself in a very grave situation" after President Biden called the country a security threat during his first policy speech to Congress last week.

Why it matters: The threat underlines the challenges Biden faces as he seeks to break away from the failure of predecessors to overcome differences with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's regime over denuclearization and sanctions, which have crippled the isolated nation.

Context: In his speech to Congress last Wednesday, Biden said the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran were "a serious threat to America’s security and world security," which he vowed to address through "diplomacy and stern deterrence."

What they're saying: Kwon Jong Gun, a senior North Korean Foreign Ministry official, said in a statement published by the state-run KCNA, that Biden's speech was a "big blunder" and his comments "intolerable."

  • "His statement clearly reflects his intent to keep enforcing the hostile policy toward" the North Korea as it had been done by the U.S. for over half a century," Kwon said.
  • Kwon did not specify what steps North Korea was considering.

The big picture: Kwon's comments come a day after White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration had completed its review of U.S. policy toward North Korea.

  • Psaki suggested the Biden administration would aim for a middle ground between former President Trump’s "grand bargain" and former President Obama’s "strategic patience" approach.
  • The Biden administration did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper

Apr 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

White House to take "calibrated, practical approach" to North Korea

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Biden administration will take a "calibrated, practical approach" to North Korea, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

Driving the news: Psaki said the administration has completed its review of U.S. policy toward North Korea. She did not elaborate on the findings, but suggested the administration would aim for a middle ground between former President Trump’s "grand bargain" and former President Obama’s "strategic patience" approach, AP noted.

Dave Lawler, author of World
May 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Hard exit from Afghanistan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The biggest foreign policy surprise from President Biden’s first 100 days was his decision to act on a promise his predecessors hadn't: the full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Why it matters: Biden didn't settle on an unconditional withdrawal because he saw a path to a stable Afghanistan without U.S. troops in the country. Instead, he argued that it was clear by now that no such path existed with them there.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
May 1, 2021 - Science

Vice President Harris will chair the National Space Council

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks with NASA astronaut Victor Glover. Photo: Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

The Biden administration will keep the National Space Council — reestablished initially by the Trump administration — and Vice President Kamala Harris plans to chair it.

Why it matters: Many see the National Space Council as integral to policy development and inter-agency collaboration as the nation increasingly relies on space for national security and other uses.