US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday criticized North Korea’s latest missile tests, describing them as “profoundly destabilizing”.
“Some months ago, we made clear that we were prepared to engage the North Koreans, to sit down with no preconditions, to see if we could find a way forward with them at the table toward the total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We’ve made clear that we have no hostile intent toward North Korea, and we’ve waited to see if they are prepared to engage,” Blinken told MSNBC in an interview.
“Unfortunately, not only has there been no response to those overtures, but the response we’ve seen, as you pointed out, in recent weeks has been renewed missile tests, something that is profoundly destabilizing. It’s dangerous, and it contravenes a whole host of UN Security Council resolutions,” he added.
“So not only are we sanctioning North Koreans, we are deeply engaged both at the UN and with key partners – like South Korea, like Japan – on a response,” continued the Secretary of State. “I think some of this is the North Korea trying to get trying to get attention. It’s done that in the past; it’ll probably continue to do that. But we are very focused with allies and partners in making sure that they and we are properly defended and that there are repercussions, consequences for these actions by North Korea.”
The interview with Blinken came a day after North Korea said it conducted a test-firing of a hypersonic missile.
The North said the projectile hit the "set target in waters 1,000 km off" and added that leader Kim Jong Un attended the firing.
The US, in response, imposed sanctions on five North Korean officials.
Last week, Pyongyang said it had test fired a "hypersonic missile" that successfully hit a target.
Last Wednesday’s launch was the first by North Korea since October and was detected by several militaries in the region, drawing criticism from governments in the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
North Korea regularly launches ballistic missiles and had a series of such tests in late 2021, the most recent of which was in October when it test-fired a new ballistic missile from a submarine.
North Korea restarted its missile tests after denuclearization talks with the United States came to a halt.