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(LEAD) Top diplomats of S. Korea, Japan lash out at N. Korea's ICBM test

North Korea 14:07 March 25, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with State Department's statement in last 2 paras; CHANGES dateline)

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, March 25 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of South Korea and Japan on Friday condemned North Korea's firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and urged it to cease provocative acts, Seoul's foreign ministry said.

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong talked over the phone with his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, after the North confirmed it successfully test-fired a new ICBM on Thursday under the direct order of its leader Kim Jong-un.

The officials pointed out the North's latest missile test is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and a move to scrap its self-imposed moratorium on the ICBM testing that had been in place since late 2017, according to the ministry.

They agreed the ICBM launch poses a "grave threat" to regional and global security that needs to be dealt with using "firm responses" and vowed close cooperation with the United States for additional measures by the U.N. Security Council, the ministry said.

On Friday, First Vice Minister Choi Jong-kun also had phone talks with Wendy Sherman, the U.S. deputy secretary of state, and Japan's Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori to discuss the North's latest missile test, it added.

Sherman condemned North Korea's "increasingly escalatory launches" and reaffirmed "the ironclad U.S. commitment" to the defense of its Asian allies, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a press statement.

She stressed the importance of "close coordination" with allies and partners to address the threats posed by North Korea and "to advance the shared objective of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

N. Korea confirms test-firing of Hwasong-17 ICBM
N. Korea confirms test-firing of Hwasong-17 ICBM

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (front) celebrates after a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was launched from Pyongyang International Airport on March 24, 2022, in this photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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