(LEAD) U.S. condemns N. Korea's missile launches, urges Pyongyang to engage in dialogue
(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks from a defense department spokesperson, additional background, more information in paras 6-13; ADDS photo)
By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- The United States on Friday condemned North Korea's latest missile launch, while calling on the recalcitrant state to engage in serious dialogue.
A state department spokesperson said the missile launches violated multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.
"The United States condemns the DPRK's ballistic missile launches. These launches are in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions unanimously adopted by the council, and threaten peace and stability in the region," the spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity.
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles Friday (Seoul time).
The country has so far launched a total of 46 ballistic missiles this year, the largest number of ballistic missiles it has fired in a single year.
A defense department spokesperson said the latest missile launch did not pose any immediate threat to the U.S. or its allies in the region, while highlighting U.S. commitment to the defense of U.S. allies, including South Korea.
"We can confirm that North Korea did launch two ballistic missiles," Sabrina Singh, deputy spokesperson for the department, said when asked about the missile launch. "We have assessed that these launches, this event does not pose any immediate threat to U.S. personnel or our allies."
"But the actions that the DPRK has taken, again, further destabilize the region and our commitments to the Republic of Korea and Japan remain ironclad ," she added, referring to South Korea by its official name.
The North's latest missile launch came shortly after the U.S. Department of Defense released its National Defense Strategy, along with a nuclear posture review, in which it said a nuclear attack by North Korea will result in the "end of the regime."
Singh insisted the purpose of the review is to dissuade any use of nuclear weapons.
"We released a nuclear posture review because we believe that a nuclear weapon should never be used, and part of this review is to ensure that we are deterring other nations from using nuclear weapons," she said.
U.S. officials have said Pyongyang may be prepared to conduct a nuclear test "at any time."
North Korea conducted its sixth and last nuclear test in September 2017.
The state department spokesperson reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to engage in diplomacy but said the North refuses to do so.
"We continue to seek serious and sustained dialogue with the DPRK, but the DPRK refuses to engage," the spokesperson said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"Our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad."
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