US prepared to engage with North Korea despite missile tests

White House spokesperson: Our position has not changed when it comes to North Korea.

Elad Benari ,

North Korea nuclear program
North Korea nuclear program
iStock

The United States said on Monday it remains prepared to engage with North Korea despite Pyongyang's announcement that it had tested a new long-range cruise missile over the weekend.

"Our position has not changed when it comes to North Korea, we remain prepared to engage," White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, according to the Reuters news agency.

On Sunday, North Korean media reported that the country had carried out successful long-range cruise missile tests over the weekend.

The missiles flew 1,500 km (930 miles) before hitting their targets and falling into the country's territorial waters during the tests held on Saturday and Sunday.

It is unclear whether North Korea has mastered the technology needed to build warheads small enough to be carried on a cruise missile, but its leader Kim Jong Un said earlier this year that developing smaller bombs is a top goal.

Commenting at the United Nations in New York, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters, according to Reuters, "We've seen these reports, and I think it's yet another reminder that diplomatic engagement is the only way to reach sustainable peace and complete and verifiable denuclearization on the (Korean) Peninsula."

North Korea, which has conducted many missile tests in recent years, restarted those tests after denuclearization talks with the United States came to a halt.

Former US President Donald Trump tried to reach an agreement with North Korea while in office. Kim and Trump met in Hanoi in 2019 for a summit that left nuclear talks at a standstill.

The pair had met three times since June 2018 but made little progress towards denuclearization.

The new Biden administration reached out to North Korea but the country did not respond to those overtures.

In Biden’s first policy speech to Congress, he said nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran posed threats that would be addressed through “diplomacy and stern deterrence”.

Responding to that speech, North Korea dismissed the idea of talks with Washington, saying Biden’s speech was “intolerable” and “a big blunder."



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