Biden reverses course, talks tough after North Korean missile test: ‘We will respond accordingly’

President Biden on Thursday vowed the U.S. and its allies will “respond accordingly” after the second round of North Korean missile tests in less than a week.

The president’s comments at a White House news conference stood in stark contrast to his administration’s approach earlier this week, when top officials downplayed the first batch of North Korean missile launches as “normal military activity.” Mr. Biden even laughed off questions about that first round of missile tests when asked earlier this week.

But the president said the most recent launches — which came Wednesday and saw North Korea fire two ballistic missiles into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan — violated United Nations resolutions against Pyongyang. The earlier round of tests did not violate any international law, administration officials have said.

The White House appears to be taking the second round of tests much more seriously.

“We are consulting with our allies and partners and there will be a response if they choose to escalate,” Mr. Biden said of North Korea. “We will respond accordingly. But I’m also prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearization.”

The White House is readying a diplomatic push aimed at securing a permanent end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.


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