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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country should prepare for dialogue and especially "confrontation" with the United States, state media KCNA reported Friday local time, per Reuters.
Why it matters: President Biden in May met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Both leaders reaffirmed the importance of North Korea's denuclearization.
President Biden announced Friday the appointment of Sung Kim as U.S. special envoy for North Korea.
Why it matters: Kim, currently a senior official at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, has a long career in diplomacy with Asia. Biden said he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are both "deeply concerned" about the situation in North Korea.
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.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in criticized former President Trump's attempts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, telling the New York Times he "beat around the bush" with North Korea and "failed to pull it through."
Why it matters: Moon, now in his final year in office, called denuclearization a "matter of survival" for South Korea and urged President Biden to resume negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after a standstill of nearly two years.
At a party meeting Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un compared the ills the country currently faces to the severe famines it suffered in the 1990s, according to AP.
Why it matters: Groups monitoring North Korea have not seen signs of mass starvation or a growing humanitarian disaster, but the comparison may underscore how Kim views the country's current economic difficulties.
The South Korean military said North Korea fired at least two unidentified projectiles into the East Sea on Thursday local time. Japan's prime minister said the projectiles were ballistic missiles, according to AP.
Driving the news: The latest test comes one day after news broke that the North had tested a short-range cruise missile system last weekend, though U.S. officials described that test as “normal military activity."
Last week’s stunning indictment of three North Korean hackers laid bare both the advantages and drawbacks of the U.S. government’s evolving strategy of using high-profile prosecutions to publicize hostile nation-state cyber activities.
Why it matters: Criminal charges can help the U.S. establish clear norms in a murky and rapidly changing environment, but they may not deter future bad behavior and could even invite retaliation against U.S. intelligence officials.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday called the United States his country's "biggest enemy" and pushed to continue expanding North Korea's arsenal, according to text of his remarks at the Workers' Party Congress meeting published by state media.
Why it matters: Kim's comments come days before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
North Korea unveiled what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile during a military parade on Saturday night, though it is unclear whether the weapon is functional or built for show, according to the New York Times.
Why it matters: If it does work, analysts say it would be North Korea's largest long-range missile to date, potentially able to fly further and carry a more powerful nuclear warhead than the country's previous ICBMs.