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North Korea launches short-range missiles into the sea in latest test

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North Korea fired a short-range missile into the sea early Tuesday morning, neighboring countries said, in the latest weapons tests conducted by North Korea that has raised questions about the sincerity of its recent offer of talks with South Korea.

At an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, the South Korean government lamented what it called “a short-range missile launch” by the North. The South Korean military previously said the object fired from the mountainous northern province of Jagang flew into the waters off North Korea’s east coast.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the launch does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies. But he said the missile launch “highlights the destabilizing impact of (North Korea’s) illicit weapons program” and that the United States’ commitment to defending South Korea and Japan “remains steadfast.”

South Korean and US authorities were analyzing the details of the launch. But Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said North Korea fired “what could be a ballistic missile” and that his government stepped up its surveillance and surveillance.

The launch of a ballistic missile would violate a UN Security Council ban on North Korea’s ballistic activities, but the council does not normally impose new sanctions on North Korea for the launch of short-range weapons.

Ballistic and cruise missile tests earlier this month were North Korea’s first such launches in six months and showed its ability to strike targets in South Korea and Japan, both key allies of the United States, where they are. A total of 80,000 US soldiers are stationed.

But last Friday and Saturday, Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, reached out to Seoul and said her country was open to resuming talks and reconciliation steps if conditions are met. Some experts said North Korea wants South Korea to work to get relief from US-led sanctions.

South Korea called his statement “significant” but urged North Korea to reestablish communication channels before talks between rivals can be arranged.

The lines of communication have been largely inactive for about 15 months, so restoring them could be a yardstick to assess how serious the North is about its offer of conditional talks. Seoul’s Unification Ministry said on Tuesday that North Korea remains unresponsive to South Korea’s attempts to exchange messages through the channels.

When a North Korean missile launch was detected by rivals on Tuesday, the third round of such tests this month, North Korean Ambassador Kim Song used his speech on the last day of the UN General Assembly to justify the development of an “element deterrent to war “in your country. to defend against threats from the United States.

“The possible outbreak of a new war on the Korean peninsula is not due to the mercy of the United States towards the DPRK, it is because our state is developing a reliable deterrent that can control hostile forces in an attempted military invasion.” Kim said. DPRK refers to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name for North Korea.

North Korea’s latest rapprochement came in response to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s renewed requests for a declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War in an attempt to promote peace on the Korean peninsula. Seoul officials describe the declaration as a “political” and “symbolic” step because a peace treaty needs to be signed to formally end the Korean War, which ended with an armistice, leaving the peninsula in a technical state of war.

The three-year conflict pitted South Korea and US-led UN forces against North Korea and China, killing 1 to 2 million people. In his speech at the UN last week, Moon proposed signing the end-of-war declaration between the two Koreas, the United States and China.

After North Korea’s launch on Tuesday, Moon ordered officials to examine its latest gun shots and previous range comprehensively before formulating countermeasures, according to Moon’s office.

A US-led diplomatic effort aimed at convincing North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons in exchange for economic and political gain has stalled for two and a half years. US officials have repeatedly expressed hopes for further talks, but have also made it clear that the long-term sanctions imposed on North Korea will remain in place until North Korea takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

While North Korea has tested short-range weapons and vowed to continue building its nuclear arsenal, Kim Jong Un has maintained a moratorium on tests of longer-range weapons capable of reaching the American homeland, an indication that it wants to maintain the possibilities. of a future diplomacy with the United States alive.

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