Sunday May 29, 2022

US calls on N Korea to ‘cease’ its ‘unlawful’ missile launches

January 18, 2022
US calls on N Korea to ‘cease’ its ‘unlawful’ missile launches

WASHINGTON: The United States called on North Korea on Monday to "cease its unlawful and destabilising activities," after Pyongyang fired two suspected ballistic missiles in its fourth weapons test this month, a State Department spokesman said.

In a call with South Korean and Japanese officials, the US special representative on North Korea, Sung Kim "expressed concern" about the missile launches and urged Pyongyang to return to dialogue "without preconditions," the statement from spokesman Ned Price said.

He also "reaffirmed the US commitment to the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, as well as its ironclad commitment to the defense of its allies," South Korea and Japan.

Two suspected "short-range ballistic missiles" were fired east from an airport in Pyongyang early Monday, the South Korean military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, with Japan also confirming the launch.

They were the latest in a string of weapons tests conducted by Pyongyang this year, including of hypersonic missiles, as leader Kim Jong Un pursues his avowed goal of further strengthening the military.

Its flexing of its military muscle comes despite tough international sanctions and an economy hard-hit by a self-imposed coronavirus blockade.

North Korea has not responded to Washington’s offers of talks, instead vowing a "stronger and certain" response to any attempts to rein it in. Last week, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on five North Koreans over their roles in obtaining equipment and technology for the North’s missile programmes in its response to the North’s earlier tests this month.

The State Department ordered sanctions against another North Korean, a Russian man and a Russian company for their broader support of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction activities, and the Biden administration also said it would pursue additional UN sanctions over the North’s continued tests.