Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

A senior US diplomat has called on North Korea to refrain from further missile tests and resume nuclear diplomacy, a few days after the totalitarian country fired its first underwater-fired ballistic missile in two years.

Sung Kim, the US envoy to North Korea, spoke after a meeting with South Korean officials to discuss North Korea’s recent missile tests, while nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have still stalled.

“We urge North Korea to stop these provocations and other destabilizing activities and instead enter into dialogue,” Kim told reporters, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

North Korea announced on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, that it had tested a newly developed missile designed to be fired from a submarine.
North Korea announced that it had tested a newly developed missile designed to be fired from a submarine. (AP)

“We remain ready to meet with the DPRK without preconditions, and we have made it clear that the United States has 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. It marked the Nordic region’s first underwater test since October 2019 and the most high-profile since US President Joe Biden took office in January.

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

The US Special Representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, will speak after a meeting with South Korea's Special Representative for Korea and the Noh Kyu-duk Peninsula on Monday, October 18, 2021 at the US State Department in Washington.
The US Special Representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, has warned North Korea to stop missile testing. (AP)
North Korea has an arsenal of long-range missiles. (AP)

Tuesday’s launch violates several UN Security Council resolutions banning any activity from North Korea’s ballistic missile range.

Kim said the test posed a threat to the international community and was “worrying 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 of Seoul’s pressure for a symbolic declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War as a way to bring peace.

Noh said he and Kim also confirmed that North Korea’s concerns could be discussed once negotiations resumed.

The United States expected some missiles to be tested in a show of strength by North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un.
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, insists that security talks with the United States can only start with preconditions. (AP)

The Biden administration has repeatedly said it is ready to face North Korea “anywhere and anytime” without preconditions.

But North Korea says a return to talks is conditional on the United States dropping what it calls hostile policies, an apparent reference to sanctions and regular military exercises between Washington and Seoul.

Prior to the submarine missile launch, North Korea had also tested several other new weapon systems over a six-week period, including the longest-range cruise missile and a hypersonic missile currently under development.

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These weapons potentially put American allies South Korea and Japan within striking territory. Some experts say that in the coming weeks, North Korea can also test a missile that can reach the American homeland to maximize its pressure campaign against the United States.

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