North Korea slams US for supporting Taiwan in nod to ally China
- North Korea
North Korea on Saturday accused the Biden administration of raising military tensions with China through its "reckless" backing of Taiwan and said that the growing US military presence in the region constitutes a potential threat to the North.
In comments carried by state media, North Korea Vice Foreign Minister Pak Myong Ho criticized the United States for sending warships through the Taiwan Strait and providing Taiwan with upgraded weapons systems and military training.
While that seemed to blur Washington's long-held stance of maintaining "strategic ambiguity" on whether it would intervene if China were to attack Taiwan, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden had no intent to convey a change in policy.
China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949, and although it maintains formal diplomatic relations only with Beijing, the US remains committed by law to ensure Taiwan can defend itself from outside threats.
North Korea has increasingly criticized the United States' broader security role in the Asia Pacific amid intensifying competition with China, Pyongyang's major ally and economic lifeline. Last month, the North threatened unspecified countermeasures following the Biden administration's decision to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.
"It is a well-known fact that the US troops and its military bases in (South Korea) are in use to put pressure on China and that the huge forces of the US and its satellite states, which are being concentrated near Taiwan, can be committed to a military operation targeting the DPRK at any time," Pak said, using an abbreviation of the North's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"This reality proves that the US is in its bid to stifle our country and China, both socialist countries, in order to hold on to its supremacy," Pak said.
Nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled for more than two years over the issue of relaxing crippling US-led sanctions against North Korea in return for steps by the North to wind down its nuclear weapons programme.
Pyongyang sees the possession of nuclear weapons as the ultimate guarantor of the survival of the Kim family regime that has run the country with an iron fist since the 1940s.
Ending a months-long lull in September, North Korea has been ramping up its missile tests while making conditional peace offers to Seoul, reviving a pattern of pressuring South Korea to try to get what it wants from the United States.
The Biden administration's pullout from Afghanistan underscored a broader shift in US focus away from counterterrorism and so-called rogue states like North Korea and Iran. That is putting the focus on confronting a near-peer adversary in China, and part of that apparent strategy appears to be offering the North a resumption of talks without preconditions.
But the North has so far rejected the idea of open-ended talks, saying that Washington must abandon its "hostile policy," a term North Korea mainly refers to sanctions and US-South Korea joint military exercises.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)