US condemns North Korea’s short-range missile test after it fires rocket into sea and blasts America and South Korea over their ‘hostile policy’
- North Korea fired another missile into the sea off its east coast Tuesday morning
- It is the latest in a series of test launches this month to be condemned by the US
- The US state department said the launch ‘was in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions’ and urged North Korea to engage in dialogue
- The launch comes just days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s influential sister Kim Yo Jong dangled the prospect of an inter-Korean summit
- North Korea’s ambassador said no one could deny his country’s right to self defense and to test weapons
- North Korea accused Seoul and Washington of ‘double standards,’ saying they denounced weapons development while continuing their own military activities
- North Korea said it is willing to restart stalled inter-Korean talks and consider a summit if South scraps its double standards and hostile policy toward the North
The US State Department has condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch and urged Pyongyang to engage in dialogue after the pariah state blasted the US and South Korea for their ‘hostile policies’.
North Korea fired off a short-range test missile Tuesday morning – the latest in a series of test launches this month which saw the missile land in the sea east of North Korea.
It indicated the country is returning to its tried-and-true technique of mixing weapons demonstrations and peace offers to wrest concessions amid long-stalled negotiations over its nuclear weapons program.
‘The United States condemns the DPRK’s missile launch,’ the department said in a statement on Tuesday.
‘This launch is in violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions and poses a threat to the DPRK’s neighbors and the international community.
‘We remain committed to a diplomatic approach to the DPRK and call on them to engage in dialogue.’
North Korea’s neighbors said the weapon fired early Tuesday local time was a short-range missile and further details about the launch were being analyzed.
It came hours after North Korea’s Ambassador to the UN Kim Song justified North Korea´s development of a ‘war deterrent’ as a necessity to defend against US threats, and also accused South Korea of betraying inter-Korean peace agreements by prioritizing its Western ally over ‘national harmony.’
He demanded that the United States ‘permanently’ stop its military exercises with South Korea, which the North has traditionally described as invasion rehearsals, and end the deployment of US strategic weapons if it wants to end the 1950-53 Korean War and ‘is really desirous of peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula.’
People watch a TV showing a file image of North Korea’s missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday
North Korea fired an ‘unidentified projectile’ into the sea off its east coast according to the South’s military
The test came hours after North Korean Ambassador to the UN Kim Song, pictured, attacked the US and South Korea over their hostile attitude to his country at the UN in NYC
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has a new slimline image – this official state picture was issued earlier this month
‘The possible outbreak of a new war on the Korean Peninsula is contained not because of the US´s mercy on the DPRK, it is because our state is growing a reliable deterrent that can control the hostile forces in an attempted military invasion,’ Kim said, referring to North Korea by the abbreviation of its formal name, the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea.
Kim’s comments on the last day of the UN General Assembly´s annual high-level meeting came shortly after South Korea´s military reported a North Korean firing into eastern waters.
The Biden administration recently announced that it terminated the longest war in Afghanistan after 20 years, Kim said, ‘but the US is still ignoring the reality that the Korean War has not ended for over 70 years.’
Kim cited ‘military threats and hostile acts’ that the DPRK has faced from the US every day since it was founded in 1948.
North Korea mainly uses the term ‘hostile policy’ to refer to US-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons program and the joint US-South Korea military drills.
‘If (the United States) is really desirous of peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula, they should take the first step towards giving up its hostile policy against the DPRK by stopping permanently the joint military exercises and the deployment of all kinds of strategic weapons which are leveled at the DPRK in and around the Korean Peninsula,’ Kim said.
The United States keeps about 28,000 troops in South Korea to help deter potential aggression from North Korea. The allies say their drills are defensive in nature, but they have canceled or downsized them in recent years to create space for diplomacy or in pandemic response.
North Korea´s nuclear program has seemed to recede in attention at this year´s General Assembly in the face of new and broader challenges like COVID-19 and rising US-China tensions, and the meeting ended without meaningful new proposals to break the diplomatic stalemate.
But North Korea usually hates being ignored. After months of relative quiet, the country this month tested new cruise missiles it eventually plans to arm with nuclear warheads and launched ballistic missiles from a train. It then offered to improve relations with South Korea if certain conditions are met.
Analysts say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is using the South´s desire for inter-Korean engagement to pressure Seoul to extract concessions from the Biden administration on his behalf as he renews an attempt to leverage his nuclear weapons for badly needed economic and security benefits.
In their speeches at the General Assembly last week, both President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed hopes to diplomatically resolve the standoff with North Korea while sidestepping the fresh tensions created by the North´s latest tests.
South Korean army soldiers patrol along the barbed-wire fence in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea
Biden, whose pullout from Afghanistan underscored a broader shift in US focus from counterterrorism and so-called rogue states like North Korea and Iran to confronting a rising authoritarian superpower in China, said his administration would seek ‘serious and sustained diplomacy’ to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
Moon, who wants North Korea to remain a priority in Washington, made a more ambitious push to break the diplomatic deadlock, calling for the leaders of the Koreas, the United States and China to declare an end to the Korean War. The conflict, in which North Korea and ally China faced off against South Korea and US-led UN forces, ended with an armistice, but there was never a peace treaty.
North Korea rebuffed Moon´s offer last week, saying such a declaration would end up being a ‘smokescreen’ to cover up US hostility. But Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of the North Korean leader, said her country will take steps to repair ties with the South, and may even discuss another summit between their leaders – if Seoul drops its hostility and public criticism about North Korean military developments.
A visitor watches the North Korea side from the Unification Observation Post in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea
Military guard posts of North Korea, rear, and South Korea, bottom, are seen in Paju, near the border with North Korea
Nuclear negotiations have stalled since the collapse of a meeting between Kim Jong Un and former President Donald Trump in February 2019, when the Americans rejected the North´s demands for a major removal of US-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons program in exchange for dismantling an aging nuclear facility.
Kim Jong Un in recent political speeches has vowed to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of US pressure. His government has so far rejected the Biden administration´s offer to resume talks without preconditions, saying that Washington must abandon its hostile policy first.
In Monday´s address, ambassador Kim said, ‘I am convinced that a good prospect will be opened or the DPRK-US relations and the inter-Korean relations if the US refrains from threatening the DPRK and gives up its hostility towards it.’
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