US urges N.Korea to refrain from ‘threatening’

Patel underscored that the US goal of engagement with North Korea remains the same….reports Asian Lite News

The US has called on North Korea to refrain from further “threatening” activity and return to dialogue after Pyongyang fired several cruise missiles toward the Yellow Sea, the latest in a series of its weapons tests that heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“We urge the DPRK to refrain from further threatening activity and call on Pyongyang to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy,” a State Department spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Later in a press briefing, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel repeated the message. “It’s important to remember that we have been incredibly clear about the fact that we harbour no hostile intent towards the DPRK and continue to be open to diplomacy without preconditions,” he said.

“This is also an avenue for us to continue to consult closely with the Republic of Korea, with Japan and other allies and partners about how to best engage with the DPRK to deter some of their aggressive and destabilizing behaviours,” he added.

Patel also underscored that the US goal of engagement with North Korea remains the same. “We are eager to engage in substantive discussions on identifying ways to not just manage military risk but create lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula as well as our continued stated goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” he said.

Earlier, North Korea has fired “several” cruise missiles from its west coast towards the Yellow Sea, according to South Korea, Al Jazeera reported.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the missiles were fired on Wednesday morning.

“Our military detected several cruise missiles launched by North Korea towards the Yellow Sea at around 7:00 am today [22:00 GMT on Tuesday],” the JCS said in a statement.

“The detailed specifications are being closely analysed by South Korean and US intelligence authorities,” the statement added.

The capital, Pyongyang, which is under strict United Nations sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme, has continued to conduct weapons tests this year, including a solid-fuelled hypersonic ballistic missile and the test of a purportedly nuclear-capable underwater attack drone, as reported by Al Jazeera.

However, cruise missile tests are not banned under UN sanctions but the JCS said that it was monitoring further activities by North Korea.

Cruise missiles tend to be jet-propelled and fly at a lower altitude than more sophisticated ballistic missiles, but analysts say they could pose a risk to South Korea and Japan because they are harder to detect by radar.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased in recent months as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues to accelerate his weapons development and issue provocative threats of nuclear conflict with the US and its allies in the region, according to Al Jazeera.

Japan, South Korea and the US, meanwhile, have been expanding their combined military exercises, which Kim portrays as invasion rehearsals, and sharpening their deterrence strategies built around nuclear-capable US assets.

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