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U.S. calls on N. Korea to avoid provocations, return to talks

All News 23:27 March 09, 2020

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, March 9 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. State Department called on North Korea Monday to avoid provocations and return to nuclear talks, after Pyongyang fired three short-range projectiles into the sea.

South Korea's military said the launches on Monday appeared to be part of an artillery strike drill, with characteristics similar to the firing of two short-range projectiles a week earlier.

This AFP file photo shows the U.S. Department of State in Washington. (Yonhap)

South Korean military officials say these projectiles, fired from rocket launchers, are little different from short-range ballistic missiles, which the North is banned from testing under U.N. Security Council resolutions.

"We continue to call on North Korea to avoid provocations, abide by obligations under U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and return to sustained and substantive negotiations to do its part to achieve complete denuclearization," a State Department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency.

On Sunday night (local time), a senior U.S. government official said Washington was "aware of reports" of the launch.

The U.S. continues to monitor the situation and is consulting with its allies, South Korea and Japan, the official said.

The back-to-back launches come as denuclearization negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have stalled for more than a year, with the two sides apart on how much the North should denuclearize before it receives sanctions relief and other concessions from the U.S.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had no reaction to the projectile launches, saying they were "short-term missiles."

Trump has downplayed the threat of short-range ballistic missiles while taking credit for the regime's suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests.

hague@yna.co.kr
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