A senior Pyongyang official said US President Joe Biden’s condemnation of North Korea’s test firing of two missiles amounted to an “encroachment” and “provocation,” the state-run KCNA news agency reported Saturday.
“Such remarks from the US president are an undisguised encroachment on our state’s right to self-defence and provocation to it,” Ri Pyong Chol, who supervised the missile test, said in a statement, according to the outlet.
North Korea has reported that the Thursday launch, its first substantive affront since Biden came to office, was a test of a new “tactical guided projectile” with a solid-fuel engine.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the two weapons launched from North Korea’s east coast ballistic missiles, which it is banned from developing under UN Security Council resolutions.
Following the launch, Biden labelled the test a violation of UN resolutions and advised the hermit state against ramping up military testing, warning that “there will be responses if they choose to escalate. We will respond accordingly.”
Ri, in his statement, said the North expressed its “deep apprehension over the US chief executive faulting the regular testfire, exercise of our state’s right to self-defence, as the violation of UN ‘resolutions.'”
He also said that he regretted Biden revealing his “deep-seated hostility.”
Pyongyang has a long history of using weapons tests to ramp up tensions, in a carefully calibrated process to try to forward its objectives.
“I think that the new US administration obviously took its first step wrong,” Ri said in the statement, which KCNA reported was issued on Friday.
“If the US continues with its thoughtless remarks without thinking of the consequences, it may be faced with something that is not good,” he said, adding that North Korea was prepared to “continue to increase our most thoroughgoing and overwhelming military power.”
Pyongyang has made rapid progress in its capabilities under leader Kim Jong Un, testing missiles capable of reaching the entire continental United States as tensions mounted in 2017.
Thursday’s launch, and an earlier test of short-range, non-ballistic missiles at the weekend, came after joint exercises by the US and South Korean militaries and a visit to the region by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, when Blinken repeatedly stressed the importance of denuclearizing North Korea.