SEOUL—North Korea repeated its intent to expand its nuclear weapons program, after President Biden this week said that the U.S. would respond accordingly if the regime escalated tensions.
A senior military adviser to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that Mr. Biden’s warning and characterization of the regime’s recent missile tests as violations of international rules threatened his country’s sovereignty and right to self-defense.
“If the U.S. continues with its thoughtless remarks without thinking of the consequences, it may be faced with something that is not good,” the adviser, Ri Pyong Chol, said in a statement released Saturday. “We will continue to increase our most thoroughgoing and overwhelming military power.”
The statement came after Mr. Biden criticized Pyongyang’s testing of missiles on Thursday. Officials said they were likely short-range ballistic missiles, a violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, which restrict North Korea’s ballistic-missile activities. Previous tests of the same missiles have shown they can hit U.S. military bases in South Korea. Arms experts suspect that they can carry nuclear warheads.
The North Korean comments reflect the regime’s plans to intensify its weapons tests in the coming weeks and months, North Korea watchers said, and to justify such moves by putting the blame on the U.S.