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(LEAD) U.S. condemns N. Korean missile launch, urges Pyongyang to return to dialogue

02:15 September 16, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks from White House spokeswoman Psaki, minor edits in paras 8-12)
By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. State Department on Wednesday condemned North Korea's ballistic missile launches, calling the act a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions that poses a threat to its neighbors and the international community.

A department official, however, said the U.S. remains committed to dialogue with the North.

"The United States condemns the DPRK's missile launch," the department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency while speaking on condition of anonymity.

"This launch is in violation of multiple U.N. Security Council Resolutions and poses a threat to the DPRK's neighbors and other members of the international community," the official added.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Wednesday (Seoul time), according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A new type of tactical guided missile is launched from the North Korean town of Hamju, South Hamgyong Province, on March 25, 2021, in this file photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

The missile launches came after the North test-fired a new cruise missile over the weekend.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the White House was aware of the missile launches, but that it had no additional comments.

"I would note that in the INDOPACOM statement they said they, of course, are aware of the missile launch, as are we," she said when asked about the North's missile launch in a daily press briefing, referring to a statement released earlier by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

"They have also stated that they have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory or to our allies, (and that) the missile launch highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK's illicit weapons program," she added.

The State Department official said the U.S. remains open to dialogue with the North.

"We remain committed to a diplomatic approach to the DPRK and call on them to engage in dialogue. Our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad," the department official said.

The U.S. earlier offered to meet with North Korea "anytime, anywhere without preconditions."

North Korea has ignored U.S. overtures.



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