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(LEAD) N. Korea hints at lifting moratorium on ICBM, nuclear tests over U.S. 'hostile policy'

North Korea 08:23 January 20, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS more details throughout, photo; MODIFIES headline, lead paras)
By Choi Soo-hyang

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korea held a policymaking politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party presided over by leader Kim Jong-un and decided to consider restarting "all temporally-suspended" activities, Pyongyang's state media reported Thursday, apparently referring to its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.

The meeting took place after the North conducted four missile tests this month alone, including two of what it claims to be a hypersonic missile, prompting the United States to slap new sanctions on the regime. The U.S. is leading a campaign within the U.N. Security Council to extend its own sanctions, with a closed-door council meeting on the issue scheduled to be held Thursday.

During the session held the previous day, the participants vowed preparations for a "long-term confrontation" with the U.S., saying the "hostile policy and military threat by the U.S. have reached a danger line that can not be overlooked any more," according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"It gave an instruction to a sector concerned to reconsider in an overall scale the trust-building measures that we took on our own initiative on a preferential ground and to promptly examine the issue of restarting all temporally-suspended activities," the KCNA said.

North Korea has maintained a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and ICBM testing since late 2017.

"The meeting of the Political Bureau reassigned the policy tasks for the national defense of immediately bolstering more powerful physical means which can efficiently control the hostile moves of the U.S. against the DPRK getting ever more serious day by day," it said. DPRK stand for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The North said, "Especially the present U.S. administration persists in maneuvers to deprive the DPRK of its right to self-defense."

"In the last few years alone after the DPRK-U.S. summit meetings, the U.S. held hundreds of joint war drills ... while shipping ultra-modern attack means into South Korea and nuclear strategic weapons into the region around the Korean peninsula, seriously threatening the security of our state," the KCNA said.

Last week, the Joe Biden administration announced fresh sanctions on six North Koreans involved in the regime's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presides over a politburo meeting of the Workers' Party at the headquarters of the party's Central Committee in Pyongyang on Jan. 19, 2022, in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. Kim ordered officials to reconsider all trust-building measures with the United States, instructing them to mull resuming all activities temporarily suspended. North Korea has maintained a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and ICBM testing since late 2017. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

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