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US worried North Korea could return to nuclear and ICBM tests, urges dialogue

WASHINGTON: The United States is worried North Korea’s escalating missile assessments could be precursors to resumed assessments of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles, a senior US official mentioned on Sunday (Jan 30), whereas urging Pyongyang to be part of direct talks with no preconditions.

North Korea conducted its largest missile test since 2017 on Sunday, sending a suspected intermediate-range ballistic missile soaring into space.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in mentioned a current flurry of North Korean missile assessments was paying homage to heightened tensions in 2017, when North Korea performed a number of nuclear assessments and launched its largest missiles.

He mentioned the newest launch took North Korea a step nearer to totally scrapping a self-imposed moratorium on testing its longest-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which it hasn’t examined since 2017.

A senior official of the Biden administration was requested in a briefing for journalists whether or not Washington shared the priority that Pyongyang may resume ICBM and nuclear testing.

“Of course, we’re concerned,” he mentioned. “It’s not just what they did yesterday, it’s the fact that this is coming on the heels of quite a significant number of tests in this month. And that follows on tests at the end of the year going back to September, of a variety of systems.”

“We obviously don’t want to see further testing and we’ve called upon to DPRK to refrain from further tests,” he mentioned, referring to North Korea by the initials of its official title.

North Korea’s testing spree is a serious undesirable headache for the Biden administration because it seeks to head off any plans by Russia to invade Ukraine and contends with relations with China at their worst degree in a long time.

Under President Joe Biden, Washington has repeatedly sought talks with North Korea however has been rebuffed. North Korean chief Kim Jong Un held three summits with Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, however the talks didn’t realise Kim’s demand for a removing of sanctions on Pyongyang.

The official mentioned the newest North Korean take a look at was a part of an “increasingly destabilising” sample and in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and due to this fact worldwide legislation.

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