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N. Korean missile tests pose serious threat to peace, security: State Dept.

Diplomacy 06:28 March 11, 2022

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, March 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's nuclear and missile programs pose a serious threat to the peace and security of the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, U.S. state department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday.

The remarks came after a senior U.S. administration official said the North's missile launches, staged Feb. 27 and March 5 (Seoul time), were aimed at testing a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system.

"These are ballistic missile launches," Price said when asked if the recent missile launches were ICBM tests.

"And we've been very clear that we condemn the ballistic missile launch. This launch, like the other launches earlier this year, is a clear violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions," he added.

U.S. Department of State Press Secretary Ned Price is seen answering a question in a press briefing at the department in Washington on March 10, 2022 in this image captured from the department's website. (Yonhap)

North Korea staged seven rounds of missile tests in January alone, marking the largest number of missile launches it conducted in a single month.

Pyongyang claims its two most recent launches were aimed at developing a new reconnaissance satellite.

The U.S. administration official, who spoke to reporters earlier, noted the North may test its new ICBM at full range but disguise it as a space launch.

"It demonstrates the threat that is posed by the DPRK's illicit weapons of mass destruction program, its missile program," Price said of the recent North Korean missile launches. "These are threats that really strike at peace and security within the Indo-Pacific and beyond."

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

Still, the state department official reiterated the U.S.' commitment to diplomacy.

"We have continued to reach out to the DPRK. We are committed to pursuing a diplomatic approach to this challenge. We've made very clear that we have no hostile intent towards the DPRK and we are prepared to meet with the DPRK," he said.

"It is up to the DPRK to determine whether they wish to engage in this serious and this sustained diplomacy that we think can address security challenges and help achieve our ultimate objective of a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," added Price.

He also said the U.S. looked forward to working with South Korea's President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who will be inaugurated on May 10.

"We look forward to working with President-elect Yoon to deepen cooperation on key global challenges that includes climate, and includes COVID-19, deepening our economic ties, supply chains, but also it, of course, includes deepening our cooperation on some of the security challenges that we both confront," said Price.

"At the top of that list when it comes to the Indo-Pacific is the threat that is posed by the nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs of the DPRK."

bdk@yna.co.kr
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