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N. Korea's ballistic missiles constitute a threat to U.S.: State Dept.

Diplomacy 02:57 October 13, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs pose a threat to the U.S. and its allies, a State Department spokesperson said Tuesday.

The remark comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claimed North Korea's enemy is not South Korea nor the U.S. while calling for efforts to further advance the North's military capabilities.

"The DPRK's WMD and ballistic missile programs constitute a threat to international peace and security and the global nonproliferation regime," the State Department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency in an email.

"The United States has a vital interest in deterring the DPRK, defending against its provocations or uses of force, and in limiting the reach of its most dangerous weapons programs, and above all keeping the American people and our allies safe," the official added, asking not to be identified.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

North Korea has consistently accused the U.S. of having a hostile policy against its regime, while also arguing that regular joint military exercises between South Korean and U.S. forces are war-rehearsals.

The State Department spokesperson said the U.S. remains open to engaging with Pyongyang in dialogue.

"The United States harbors no hostile intent toward the DPRK. We are prepared to meet with the DPRK without preconditions and engage in serious and sustained diplomacy. We hope the DPRK will respond positively to our outreach."

North Korea remains unresponsive to American overtures, while it has also stayed away from any meaningful talks with the U.S. since early 2019.

"Our policy calls for a calibrated, practical approach that seeks serious and sustained diplomacy with the DPRK to make tangible progress that increases the security of the United States, our allies, and our deployed forces," the State Department spokesperson added.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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