Kim Jong-un prepares for ‘dialogue and confrontation’ with the US

North Korea had earlier snubbed efforts by President Joe Biden’s administration to establish diplomatic communication. This marks the first time Mr Kim has directly commented on Mr Biden’s administration. Mr Kim was speaking at a meeting of senior leaders in Pyongyang. The ruling Workers’ Party central committee meeting which started this week in the capital Pyongyang also saw Mr Kim admitting the country was facing food shortages.

Mr Kim said they needed “especially to get fully prepared for confrontation in order to protect the dignity of our state and its interests for independent development”, as well as to guarantee a peaceful environment and North Korea’s security, according to state media outlet KCNA. He also said North Korea would “sharply and promptly” react to any developments and “concentrate efforts on taking stable control of the situation on the Korean peninsula”.

Mr Kim’s relationship with Mr Biden’s administration has so far been fraught with tension. Prior to the US election, Mr Biden had called Mr Kim a “thug”, and days before Mr Biden’s inauguration, North Korea put on a show of force with a massive military parade that showcased a new missile.