United States | Tue, September 14, 2021
Despite Pyongyang’s statement that it had launched a new long-range cruise missile over the weekend, a White House spokesperson said on Monday that the US is still willing to negotiate with the country. “Our attitude on North Korea has not changed; we remain prepared to engage,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the principal deputy press secretary, told reporters. North Korea’s official media declared successful tests of a new long-range cruise missile on Monday, analysts speculating that it could be the country’s first nuclear-capable weapon.
Initial indications, according to US officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, were that North Korea had carried out such a test. During the tests on Saturday and Sunday, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency stated the missiles were “a strategic weapon of enormous significance” that flew 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) before striking their objectives and dropping into the country’s territorial waters.
Because cruise missiles are not explicitly banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions, they arouse less interest than ballistic missiles. Analysts speculated that the term “strategic” could imply a nuclear-capable system. It’s unknown whether North Korea has mastered the technology required to create warheads tiny enough to fit on a cruise missile, but the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, stated earlier this year that building smaller bombs is a major priority.
North Korea’s “continued focus on advancing its weapons program and the threats it presents to its neighbors and the world community,” according to the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). “We’ve seen these reports, and I believe it’s another another reminder that diplomatic engagement is the only route to achieve sustainable peace and complete and verifiable disarmament on the (Korean) Peninsula,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at the United Nations in New York.
” Chief nuclear negotiators from the United States, South Korea and Japan are due to meet this week in Tokyo to explore how to resume efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. US President Joe Biden’s administration has said it is open to diplomacy to achieve this, but has shown no willingness to ease sanctions on North Korea.
In August, US ambassador to North Korea Sung Kim stated he was willing to meet with North Korean officials “anywhere, at any time.” Top nuclear envoys from Japan, the US, and South Korea met in Tokyo later Tuesday to discuss how to rein in North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, according to Kyodo News. “Our cooperation becomes all the more crucial as North Korea advances further in its nuclear and missile development,” Takehiro Funakoshi, chief of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, said at the start of the three-way discussions.
“We hope the DPRK will respond positively to our multiple offers to meet without preconditions,” Sung Kim said in response. DPRK is the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Noh Kyu Duk, South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, mentioned the possibility of providing humanitarian aid to North Korea.