Washington urges Pyongyang to join talks after missile test

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The launch was aimed to “selectively evaluate the missile being produced and deployed and to verify the overall accuracy of the weapon system”…reports Asian Lite News

Washington has made a direct appeal to North Korea to join direct talks with no preconditions about its nuclear and missile programs, after the latter launched a suspected intermediate-range ballistic missile, according to reports.

A senior official with the Biden administration told reported “we believe it is completely appropriate and completely correct to start having some serious discussions.”

North Korea on Monday announced that it test-fired a Hwasong-12 “intermediate and long-range” ballistic missile a day earlier and the accuracy of the weapons system “being produced and deployed” has been confirmed, according to Pyongyang’s state media.

“The evaluation test-fire of Hwasong 12-type ground-to-ground intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile was conducted Sunday under a plan of the Academy of Defense Science, the Second Economy Commission and other institutions concerned,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a report.

The launch was aimed to “selectively evaluate the missile being produced and deployed and to verify the overall accuracy of the weapon system”, Yonhap News Agency cited the KCNA report as saying.

“It confirmed the accuracy, security and effectiveness of the operation of the Hwasong 12-type weapon system under production.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not attend the firing.

The “highest-angle launch system” was used in consideration of the security of neighbouring nations, the KCNA reported, without providing other flight details.

The Hwasong-12 is classified as an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) with a range of 3,000-5,500 km. The North previously shot it in September 2017.

South Korea’s military said the latest missile, fired from the Jagang province bordering China, flew about 800 km at a top altitude of 2,000 km before landing in the East Sea.

Sunday’s launch marked the North’s seventh show of force this year and its longest-range missile test since the test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in November 2017.

The latest launch came just three days after the North fired two “surface-to-surface tactical guided missiles” toward the East Sea, which followed Pyongyang’s test-firing of two apparent cruise missiles two days earlier.

It conducted four other launches earlier this month, including those of what it claimed to be hypersonic missiles.

It marks the most projectiles the North has fired in a single month since Kim took power in late 2011.

The North carried out six projectile launches in both March and July 2014.

Earlier this month, Pyongyang made a veiled threat to lift the years-long moratorium, as Washington has stepped up sanctions pressure on its regime amid a protracted deadlock in their nuclear talks.

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