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North Korea launches missile amid US push to resume talks

Oct 19, 2021


In possibly the most significant demonstration of North Korea’s military might since President Joe Biden took office, the North fired at least one ballistic missile Tuesday. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile was likely launched via submarine from waters near the eastern port of Sinpo. The South Korean military did not say whether the missile was fired from a vessel underwater or another launch platform above the sea’s surface.

Officials in both Japan and China responded to the missile launch Tuesday.

“North Korea’s firing of the missiles is [in breach of] United Nations Security Council resolutions and I strongly condemn the action,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday. “I have instructed this government to consider all options including  so-called enemy base strike capability. I will drastically strengthen our defense capabilities.”

“The current situation on the peninsula is at a critical stage,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said. “All parties concerned should keep in mind the general picture, exercise restraint, commit to maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, adhere to the right direction of dialogue and consultation, and work together to promote a political solution to the peninsula issue.”

The North Korean missile launch came just hours after the U.S. reaffirmed an offer to resume talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The video above shows U.S. special representative for North Korea Sung Kim discussing the offer following a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Monday.

“We will seek diplomacy with the DPRK to make tangible progress that increases the security of the United States and our allies. This includes considering potential engagement with the DPRK to reduce tensions,” Kim said. “The US continues to reach out to Pyongyang to restart dialog.”

Kim met with both his South Korean and Japanese counterparts Tuesday at the State Department to continue talks on North Korea’s missile and nuclear development. He will then visit Seoul later this week for more talks with his South Korean counterpart.

Sung Kim, US Special Representative for North Korea: “Special representative Noh (Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk) and I had an excellent meeting this afternoon in advance of tomorrow’s trilateral meeting with Japanese director general for that question. I reaffirmed to Special Representative Noh Washington’s strong commitment to working closely with our allies and partners, especially the Republic of Korea and Japan, to achieve complete denuclearization and a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. To reach this objective, we will seek diplomacy with the DPRK to make tangible progress that increases the security of the United States and our allies. This includes considering potential engagement with the DPRK to reduce tensions. The US continues to reach out to Pyongyang to restart dialog. Our intent remains the same. We harbor no hostile intent towards the DPRK, and we are open to meeting with them without preconditions. Even as we remain open to dialog, we also have a responsibility to implement the UN Security Council resolutions addressing the DPRK. Furthermore, consistent with the Biden-Harris administration’s focus on human rights, we will continue to advocate for the human rights of the North Korean people and call for an immediate resolution of the abductions issue. They are prepared to work cooperatively with the DPRK to address areas of humanitarian concern. The U.S. supports the provisional aid consistent with international standards for access and monitoring the most vulnerable North Koreans. Special Representative Noh and I also discussed the end of war proposal, and I look forward to continuing those discussions and other issues of mutual concern when I’m in Seoul later this week. U.S. ROK Japan trilateral cooperation remains absolutely key to our approach towards the DPRK. I look forward to engaging further on these issues tomorrow during the trilateral meeting with director general Funakoshi (Takehiro Funakoshi, Japanese Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs) and special representative Noh. Thank you.”

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