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(LEAD) N. Korean missile test proves need to fully implement N. Korea sanctions: State Dept.

02:50 November 19, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks from NSC spokesman John Kirby in last 9 paras; TRIMS)
By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) -- The United States condemned North Korea's ballistic missile launch on Friday, calling on all countries to fully implement U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed on the reclusive state.

State department spokesperson Ned Price also called on Pyongyang to halt its military provocations and instead engage in sustained dialogue.

"The United States condemns the DPRK's ballistic missile launch," Price said in a released statement, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"This launch is a clear violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, and demonstrates the threat the DPRK's unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs pose to the DPRK's neighbors, the region, international peace and security, and the global non-proliferation regime," Price added.

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is moved from storage for a test at Pyongyang International Airport on March 24, 2022, in this photo captured from the North's Central TV the following day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

North Korea fired an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday (Seoul time), marking its eighth test launch of an ICBM this year.

The country has fired more than 60 ballistic missiles this year, the largest number of ballistic missiles it fired in any given year.

Price highlighted the need to rein in North Korea's advancing missile capabilities.

"This action demonstrates the need for all countries to fully implement DPRK-related U.N. Security Council resolutions that are intended to prohibit the DPRK from acquiring the technologies and materials needed to carry out these destabilizing tests," the department spokesperson said.

In a separate statement released earlier, White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the U.S. will take "all necessary measures to ensure the security" of the U.S., South Korea and Japan.

"We urge all countries to condemn these violations and call on the DPRK to come to the table for serious negotiations," said Watson.

John Kirby, NSC coordinator for strategic communications, reaffirmed U.S. commitment to engaging with North Korea, saying the U.S. is "still willing" to meet with the North Koreans.

"We are still willing to sit down without preconditions and try to come to a negotiated agreement on the denuclearization of the peninsula. That is the ultimate goal. That has not changed," he told a virtual press briefing.

Kirby noted Friday's ICBM launch itself did not immediately pose any threat to the U.S. and its allies, but said the U.S. still remains "deeply concerned" about North Korea's advancing missile capabilities.

"Every single time they launch, they learn, and that's concerning," he said. "Even if the launch is a failure or only partially successful, they still learn, their program still grows and it gets to improve, and, of course, that's destabilizing not just to the peninsula but to the region itself."

"And so even while we have extended and continue to extend an offer for dialogue, again without preconditions, we are working very hard to make sure that we have in place adequate defensive capabilities not only unilaterally and bilaterally with Japan and South Korea but also trilaterally," he added, partly referring to joint military exercises the three countries recently held bilaterally and trilaterally.

North Korea earlier blamed the joint military drills as a reason for its latest military provocations. Pyongyang has fired more than 40 missiles since September 25, including a barrage of 23 missiles launched on Nov. 2 alone.

Kirby said there has not been any direct communication between the U.S. and North Korea on the latter's ongoing military provocations, while Pyongyang also remains unresponsive to any U.S. overture.

"We have made very clear that we are still willing to conduct dialogue with the North without preconditions to work towards denuclearization of the peninsula," the NSC official reiterated.

"Obviously, they have not responded or engaged. That offer still stands," he added.

bdk@yna.co.kr
(END)

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