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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea blasted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday and said a recent decision by the U.S. to extend sanctions against it is a "hostile act," the country's state-run news agency KCNA reports.

"Our state is not a country that will surrender to the U.S. sanctions, nor are we a country which the U.S. could attack whenever it desires to do so. If anyone dares to trample over our sovereignty and the right to existence, we will not hesitate to pull a muscle-flexing trigger in order to defend ourselves."
— North Korean foreign ministry spokesman quoted in KCNA

Details: KCNA reported a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman as saying Pompeo was "reckless" for telling reporters Sunday that "some 80-plus percent of the North Korean economy" had been affected by sanctions. "He let loose a sophistry as if the sanctions are rendering the bilateral talks possible," the spokesman said.

Why it matters: The statement is a reminder of the strained relations between North Korea and the U.S., despite Pyongyang reacting positively to a letter North Korean leader Kim Jong-un received from President Trump Sunday. Trump and Kim's Hanoi summit collapsed over denuclearization and sanctions relief issues in February.

Go deeper: Global hotspots: North Korea and Iran

Go deeper

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

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2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
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Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.