North Korean leader Kim Jong-un leads a Korean People’s Army special operations forces targeting contest to occupy islands in Pyongyang on August 25, 2017.
KCNA | Reuters
WASHINGTON – North Korea said through state media that its recent weapons launch consisted of new tactical guided missiles.
The newly developed weapons, which can carry a warhead of up to 2.5 tons, flew approximately 300 miles over the East Sea, according to unverified news reports from North Korea.
The United States, Japan and South Korea said late Wednesday that Pyongyang fired what appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles, the hermit kingdom’s first ballistic tests in nearly a year.
US Navy Capt. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for the US Indo-Pacific Command, said the US was monitoring the situation and consulting with its allies and partners.
“This activity highlights the threat that North Korea’s illicit weapons program poses to its neighbors and the international community. The United States’ commitment to defending the Republic of Korea and Japan remains steadfast,” Kafka said.
Immediately after North Korea’s ballistic missile test, the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea will meet on Friday, a spokesperson confirmed to NBC News. The launch of two short-range ballistic missiles violates UN Security Council resolution 1718.
Over the weekend, North Korea tested a cruise missile off the nation’s west coast, the first weapons test since President Joe Biden took office. Senior administration officials in a Tuesday night call with reporters did not elaborate on what type of weapon was released, the location of the test, or its success rate.
On Thursday, Biden warned there would be “answers” if North Korea continues to launch ballistic missiles.
“We are consulting with our allies and partners and there will be responses if they decide to escalate. We will respond accordingly,” Biden said at his first formal press conference. “I am also prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditional on the end result of denuclearization,” he added.
The multiple tests come as Pyongyang ignores invitations from Washington to discuss denuclearization and as the United States and South Korea resume large joint military exercises.
Last week, a senior North Korean official said Pyongyang will not respond to numerous invitations to restart nuclear talks until the United States abandons its “hostile policies.”
“We have already stated our position that no contact and dialogue of any kind between the DPRK and the US can be possible unless the US repeals its hostile policy towards the DPRK,” said the first deputy foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, according to a released statement. by the Korea State Central News Agency.
Under Kim Jong Un, the lone state carried out its most powerful nuclear test, launched its first ICBM and threatened to send missiles into waters near the US territory of Guam.
Since 2011, Kim has launched more than 100 missiles and conducted four nuclear weapons tests, which is more than his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, launched over a 27-year period.