North Korea Bristles at Being Called a ‘Rogue State’

By Patrick Goodenough | June 7, 2019 | 4:26am EDT
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a visit to Vladivostok, Russia in April. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

( – North Korea has condemned a recent Pentagon report for describing it as a “rogue state,” calling it a “hostile” act that makes clear the United States’ ultimate goal is the overthrow of the regime, and warning of “countermeasures.”

In a statement released via the Korean Central News Agency, the Stalinist regime’s foreign ministry said history has shown that while the U.S. talks about dialogue, behind the scenes it prepares for war against its “dialogue partner.”

Calling North Korea a “rogue state” – as the Department of Defense does in its 2019 Indo-Pacific Strategy Report – infringes its “sovereignty and dignity,” and amounts to “a de facto declaration of confrontation,” it added.

“The United States has thus explicitly revealed once again in the face of the world its aggressive attempt to bring us to our knees by force, while totally denying the spirit of the June 12 DPRK-U.S. Joint Statement, where the U.S. has committed to terminate the hostile bilateral relations and establish new one,” the ministry said

The DPRK, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is North Korea’s formal name. The June 12 statement refers to the document signed by President Trump and Kim Jong Un at their first summit, in Singapore last summer.

“The U.S. now becomes ever more frenzied in its attempt to achieve its ambition of disarmament first and overthrow of system thereafter, while clinging desperately to the sanctions and pressure against us,” the ministry statement said.

It ended with a warning.

“We are following with high vigilance the recent maneuvers of the U.S. to increase military pressure on us through several occasions,” it said. “The more the U.S. hostile acts towards the DPRK grow, the stronger our countermeasures will become.”

As the first anniversary of the June 12 statement approaches, a foreign ministry spokesman earlier this week offered a pessimistic assessment of the state of relations with the U.S. since Singapore.

While Pyongyang had “exerted ceaseless efforts” over the past year, the U.S. “scheme to stifle us by force” had become “ever more undisguised.”

The spokesman referred to a speech by Kim last April in which he indicated he would give the U.S. until the end of this year to make a “bold decision” to change its approach in the talks, if a third summit with Trump was to take place.

The Indo-Pacific Strategy Report refers to North Korea as a ‘rogue state.’ (Image: DoD)

Kim had made clear in that speech that the U.S. should “approach us with a new way of calculation after putting aside the current one,” the ministry official said.

“The U.S. would be well-advised to change its current way of calculation and respond to our request as soon as possible,” the spokesman said. “There is a limit to our patience.”

Security challenges ‘are real and demand continued vigilance’

The DoD’s Indo-Pacific Strategy Report was released on June 1.

It highlights the role of allies and partners in implementing a vision for a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” and identifies North Korea, China and Russia as particular security challenges.

North Korea is the only country referred to as a “rogue state” in the report. (China is described as a “revisionist power” and Russia as a “revitalized malign actor.”)

The report says North Korea “will remain a security challenge for DoD, the global system, our allies and partners, and competitors, until we achieve the final, fully verifiable denuclearization as committed to by Chairman Kim Jong Un.”

“Although a pathway to peace is open for a diplomatic resolution of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, other weapons of mass destruction, missile threats, and the security challenges North Korea presents are real and demand continued vigilance.”

The report cites North Korea’s:

--development of an intercontinental ballistic missile intended to be capable of striking the continental U.S. with a nuclear or conventional payload;

--conventional threat posed to U.S. allies South Korea and Japan;

--sinking in 2010 of a South Korean Navy ship and the deaths of 46 sailors, and shelling that same year of an island near the North-South maritime border;

--proliferation of conventional arms, nuclear technology, ballistic missiles and chemical agents to countries such as Iran and Syria;

--continued human rights violations and abuse against its own people; and

--attempts to evade U.N. Security Council sanctions, including cross-border smuggling operations and illicit ship-to-ship transfers.

“The Trump administration has pursued leader-level diplomacy with North Korea for the first time, which has highlighted unique opportunities for a brighter future for North Korea,” it says.

“Until North Korea clearly and unambiguously makes the strategic decision to take steps to denuclearize, the United States will continue to enforce all applicable domestic and international sanctions, and DoD will remain ready to deter, and if necessary, defeat any threats to the United States, the ROK [South Korea], Japan, or our other allies and partners.”

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