US urges North Korea to stop missile tests and return to talks

Seoul: A senior US diplomat on Sunday urged North Korea to refrain from additional missile tests and resume nuclear diplomacy between the countries, days after the North fired-off its first underwater-launched ballistic missile in two years.

Sung Kim, the top US official on North Korea affairs, spoke after meeting with South Korean officials to discuss North Korea's recent missile tests that have come amid a long-running stalemate in nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang. We call on the DPRK to cease these provocations and other destabilizing activities, and instead, engage in dialogue, Kim told reporters, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

We remain ready to meet with the DPRK without preconditions and we have made clear that the United States harbours no hostile intent towards the DPRK, he said.

Last Tuesday, North Korea fired a newly developed ballistic missile from a submarine in its fifth round of weapons tests in recent weeks. South Korean officials said the submarine-fired missile appeared to be in an early stage of development. That marked the North's first underwater-launched test since October in 2019 and the most high-profile one since President Joe Biden took office in January.

Missiles fired from submarines are harder to detect in advance and would provide North Korea with a secondary, retaliatory attack capability.

Tuesday's launch violates multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that ban any activity by North Korea in the area of ballistic missiles. Kim said the test poses a threat to the international community and is concerning and counterproductive to efforts to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim's South Korean counterpart, Noh Kyu-duk, said the two had an in-depth discussion on Seoul's push for a symbolic, political declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War as a way to bring peace.

Next Story
Share it