US calls on North Korea to stop its 'provocative' nuclear and missile tests and return to negotiations


Washington D.C
Sung Kim, the top US official on North Korea affairs, is in Seoul to discuss North Korea’s recent streak of missile tests [Patrick Semansky/ AP]

According to a senior US ambassador, North Korea has been told to stop its "concerning and counterproductive" missile launches and resume talks.

Sung Kim, the US's top North Korea negotiator, spoke on Sunday after meeting with South Korean officials to discuss North Korea's latest missile tests, including the country's first underwater-launched ballistic missile launch in two years.

The tests came amid a long-running standoff between Washington and Pyongyang over nuclear diplomacy.

"We call on the DPRK to stop its provocations and other destabilizing activities and instead engage in dialogue," Kim said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"We remain open to meeting with the DPRK without preconditions, and we have made clear that the US has no hostile intentions toward the DPRK," he said.

On Tuesday, North Korea conducted its fifth set of recent weapons tests, firing a newly designed ballistic missile from a submarine. The submarine-launched rocket looks to be in its early stages of development, according to South Korean officials.

Nonetheless, it was North Korea's first underwater launch since October of last year and the most high-profile since US President Joe Biden took office in January.

Submarine-launched missiles are more challenging to detect in advance, giving North Korea a backup retaliation assault potential.

According to Kim, the launch violated various UN Security Council resolutions imposed on North Korea and "poses a threat to the DPRK's neighbors and the international community," according to Kim.

He also called the test "concerning" and "counterproductive" to efforts toward long-term peace on the Korean peninsula.

Pyongyang has rebuffed US overtures thus far, accusing Washington and Seoul of talking diplomacy while escalating tensions with their military activities.

On Thursday, it also accused the US of overreacting to its "defensive" submarine-launched ballistic missile test and questioned Washington's sincerity in offering discussions.

"The US denounces us for developing and testing the same weapons system it already has or was developing," a spokesperson for the North's foreign ministry said. "This only adds to our suspicions about their sincerity after saying they have no hostility toward us."

ACCORDING TO THE SPOKESWOMAN, the US might suffer "more grave and serious consequences" if it chooses to act up, which warned against "tampering with a time bomb."

Meanwhile, Noh Kyu-duk, South Korea's nuclear envoy, said Sunday's discussions with Kim included "serious" discussion of Seoul's plan to formally put an end to the state of war that has lasted since the Korean War concluded in an armistice rather than a peace treaty in 1950-1953.

Officials in South Korea consider such a declaration as a show of good faith intended to kick-start negotiations.

Publish : 2021-10-24 11:39:00

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