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Pentagon urges N. Korea to stop 'needless' provocation and engage in negotiations

Diplomacy 06:06 March 08, 2022

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, March 7 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson on Monday called on North Korea to stop its missile launches, calling them "needless provocations."

Department Press Secretary John Kirby also urged Pyongyang to engage in dialogue to find a negotiated solution.

"These continue to be provocations, needless provocations at that," he said when asked about North Korea's recent missile tests that it claims to have been aimed at developing a reconnaissance satellite.

North Korea has staged nine rounds of missile launches since the start of the year, with the latest test taking place on Saturday (Seoul time).

U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby is seen speaking in a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on March 7, 2022 in this image captured from the department's website. (Yonhap)

"We urge Pyongyang to cease these missile launches and these provocations and signal that they're willing to sit down, as we are, without preconditions to find a negotiated way forward here and ... a diplomatic path to reduce the tensions on the peninsula," Kirby told a press briefing.

The U.S. state department earlier condemned North Korea's missile launches as violations of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The U.S., nine other UNSC members, and South Korea also issued a joint statement on Monday, condemning the North's recent missile tests while urging all UNSC members to call out the North's "destabilizing" actions.

The joint statement came after the 15-member UNSC failed to produce a joint statement on the North Korean missile launch in a closed-door session held earlier in the day, reportedly due to China's opposition.

China, a close ally of North Korea and veto-power wielding permanent member of the UNSC, earlier blocked U.S. efforts to impose additional sanctions on North Korea.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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