According to the US and South Korean governments, North Korea’s most recent missile tests are related to Pyongyang’s work on a new intercontinental missile system.
US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said in Washington on Thursday (local time) that after analyzing ballistic missile launches in late February and early March, a new intercontinental missile system is supposed to be under development. ballistic missiles, that of North Korea. North Korea has been developing multi-range missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead for years.
Missile tests would not have been conducted at full range, Kirby said. The purpose was probably to evaluate this new missile system “before a full-range test is carried out in the future.” On Friday, the South Korean Defense Ministry issued a similar statement.
“Brazen violation of several UN resolutions”
A senior US official called the tests a “serious escalation” by North Korea. “These launches are a flagrant violation of several UN Security Council resolutions.” In response, the US Treasury Department will announce new sanctions against North Korea on Friday. “There will be a series of other measures in the coming days,” the US government representative announced, without being more specific. The Pentagon also said the US Indo-Pacific Command this week ordered increased intelligence reconnaissance activities in the Yellow Sea, as well as increased readiness of ballistic missile defense forces in the region.
North Korea recently caused unrest again with its missile tests in the region. According to its neighbors South Korea and Japan, the isolated country fired a ballistic missile into the open sea in late February and early March. North Korea itself spoke of important tests in the development of an earth observation satellite.
UN resolutions prohibit the country from testing ballistic missiles, which, depending on the design, can be fitted with a nuclear warhead. The dispute over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has been one of the most dangerous conflicts in international politics for years.
The US official said that Washington’s new measures should make it clear to Pyongyang “that these illegal and destabilizing activities will have consequences, that the international community will not accept these actions as normal and, more importantly, that the only viable path for Korea of the North is the diplomat”. . “There are negotiations.”
Kim Jong Un during the inspection visit
The US administration official stressed that the United States continues to pursue a diplomatic route and is ready for meetings without preconditions. US President Joe Biden himself has made it clear that he is open to talking to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as soon as a serious deal based on working-level negotiations is on the table. However, the official complained that North Korea continued to fail to respond to US efforts. The US government has been holding talks with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program for three years.
Meanwhile, North Korean state media reported on Friday that Kim Jong Un called for the expansion of the Sohae satellite launch site during an inspection visit. From there, various carrier rockets should be able to start “carrying multipurpose satellites, including a military reconnaissance satellite.”
North Korea had previously launched rockets from its controversial West Coast space center that were said to be launching satellites. Covert tests with long-range missiles that could carry nuclear weapons abroad were assumed. Experts surmise that North Korea could soon launch a “space rocket”.