US envoy: North Korea's ballistic missile tests are counterproductive

US envoy for North Korea says US committed to exploring "sustained and substantive diplomacy" with North Korea.

Elad Benari ,

North Korea nuclear program
North Korea nuclear program
iStock

The US envoy for North Korea on Sunday criticized North Korea's recent ballistic missile tests, saying they were "concerning and counterproductive" for efforts to reduce tensions.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with his South Korean counterpart in Seoul and quoted by Reuters, Special Representative Sung Kim said the United States is committed to exploring "sustained and substantive diplomacy" with North Korea.

"Our goal remains the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Kim said. "That’s why Pyongyang’s recent ballistic missile test, one of several in the past six weeks, is concerning and counterproductive to making progress toward a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula."

North Korea recently carried out several missile tests, most recently last week when it test-fired a new ballistic missile from a submarine.

On Thursday, the North said the United States was overreacting to the submarine-launched ballistic missile test that it called self-defensive, and questioned the sincerity of Washington's offers of talks, warning of consequences.

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. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un 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 Biden administration reached out to North Korea shortly after taking office, 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."

Following the North’s first recent test, the United States said it still remains prepared to engage with North Korea on denuclearization.



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