WASHINGTON (AP) – North Korea fired short-range missiles last weekend, days after Kim Jong Un’s sister threatened the United States with a joint military exercise with South Korea.
The tests of the missile were confirmed by two high-ranking officials of the Biden administration, who informed the journalists about their anonymity. As North Korea ignores proposals for a new administration to resume talks, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken last week pressured China to use its “enormous influence” to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.
However, officials tried to underestimate the importance of the missile tests, saying they were not covered by UN Security Council resolutions aimed at deterring North Korea from pursuing its nuclear program.
Biden himself told reporters that the missile tests were not a provocation. “There is no new wrinkle in what they have done,” he said.
The South Korean Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that it had discovered two suspected missiles fired by North Korea on Sunday morning. It said the launches were made off the west coast of North Korea, and that South Korea was analyzing them.
The statement said that South Korea was closely monitoring North Korea’s missile activities in cooperation with the United States, but did not disclose all of its information about North Korea.
South Korean lawmaker Ha Ta-keung said in a Facebook post that he had been told by officials at Seoul’s spy agency that the North was at 6 a.m. Sunday. Around 36, two cruise missiles were fired from the western seaport of Nampo. Ha, the executive secretary of the National Intelligence Committee, who regularly receives closed-door briefings from the spy agency, said he had been told that the US and South Korean forces had found the launches but had agreed not to publish them.
The Biden administration has openly expressed its desire to involve the North in the talks, even as the regime has outgrown calls for the two peoples to speak out. In North Korea’s first comments to the Biden administration earlier this month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s powerful sister warned the United States to “refrain from stinking” if it wanted to “sleep peacefully” for the next four years.
Kim Jong Un’s statement came as Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Asia to discuss other regional issues with US ally Japan, South Korea and South Korea.
Relations between the United States and North Korea, once considered potentially promising after former President Donald Trump’s three meetings with Kim, have been strained for more than a year without substantive communication.
The last face-to-face talks between high-ranking officials of the two countries took place in Sweden in October 2019, ջանք The efforts of the Biden administration to resume the dialogue were withdrawn in February.
The North has not tested nuclear or long-range missiles since Trump’s first meeting with Kim in Singapore in 2018, although analysts say they have pushed both plans forward. And the North has not given up on short- and medium-range missile tests.
For more than a year, North Korean officials have not been in contact with US government officials, including two administrations, said a senior administration official.
Biden administration officials have consulted with Trump administration officials involved in the Singapore talks, including Kim and Trump’s second meeting in February 2019. A broader review of cooperation with the United States may explain North Radio’s silence, according to one official.
Kim is in the most difficult crisis of her nine years in office as the already troubled economy suffers from the closure of epidemic borders, which has drastically reduced the North’s foreign trade. Last summer, the North faced natural disasters, not to mention ongoing US sanctions.
But Biden administration officials added that the Biden administration did not consider missile tests over the weekend to close the door to such talks.
National Security Adviser Ake Sullivan is scheduled to meet next week with his South Korean counterpart, Japanese Aponia, to discuss progress with North Korea.
Associated Press writers Kim Tong-hyung և Hyung-Kim’s Kim in Seoul և osh osh Bouak in Washington contributed to this report.