North Korea fires 2 ballistic missiles off its east coast
By Choe Sang Hun
SEOUL — North Korea launched two ballistic missiles off its east coast on Wednesday (15), the country’s first ballistic missile test in six months and a violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that ban the country from conducting such tests.
The launch occurred a day after the special envoy from the United States urged North Korea to resume nuclear disarmament talks, saying that Washington had no “hostile” intent toward Pyongyang. North Korea conducted its last ballistic missile test in March. Over the weekend, it test-fired what it called newly developed long-range cruise missiles.
The resumption of missile tests by North Korea came as neighboring countries stepped up efforts to get Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table. North Korea uses weapons tests to both improve its missile technology and increase its leverage with Washington.
South Korean and US defence officials were analyzing the data collected from the North Korean missile test to determine what type of ballistic missiles were fired on Wednesday and how far they had flown, the South Korean Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Japan’s Ministry of Defence issued a statement saying that an “object that could be a ballistic missile was fired by North Korea”, but that it is “assumed” it did not reach Japan’s territorial waters or its exclusive economic zone.
The news of the North Korean missile test broke shortly after Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China, North Korea’s biggest supporter, had finished a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Chung Eui-yong, in Seoul.
“It’s not just North Korea, but other countries as well that engage in military activities,” Wang said when asked by reporters to comment on the North’s weekend cruise-missile test. “We must all work together to resume dialogue. We all hope to contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”
Wang didn’t elaborate, but the United States and South Korea conducted a joint military exercise last month. North Korea has accused Washington and Seoul of preparing to invade the North, and usually counters joint military drills between the two allies with its own military exercise or weapons tests.
“The United States has no hostile intent toward” North Korea, Sung Kim, the Biden administration’s special envoy, said on Tuesday in Tokyo, where he met with representatives from Japan and South Korea to discuss the North. He said Washington hoped that North Korea “will respond positively to our multiple offers to meet without preconditions.”
The latest tests showed that North Korea continued to improve its arsenal of missiles despite a series of resolutions from the UN Security Council that banned North Korea from developing or testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
-New York Times
Reports North Korea has launched two ballistic missiles came as China and South Korea met to discuss stalled nuclear diplomacy efforts – 朝鮮通信社/AP