South urges North Korea to stop missile tests and return to talks

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) – A senior United States (US) diplomat yesterday urged North Korea to refrain from additional missile tests and resume nuclear diplomacy between the countries, days after the North fired-off its first underwater-launched ballistic missile in two years.

Top US official on North Korea affairs Sung Kim spoke after meeting with South Korean officials to discuss North Korea’s recent missile tests that have come amid a long-running stalemate in nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang.

“We call on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to cease these provocations and other destabilising activities, and instead, engage in dialogue,” Kim told reporters, referring to North Korea by its official name, the DPRK.

“We remain ready to meet with the DPRK without preconditions and we have made clear that the US harbours no hostile intent towards the DPRK,” he said.

Last Tuesday, North Korea fired a newly developed ballistic missile from a submarine in its fifth round of weapons tests in recent weeks.

South Korean officials said the submarine-fired missile appeared to be in an early stage of development.

That marked the North’s first underwater-launched test since October in 2019 and the most high-profile one since US President Joe Biden took office in January.

United States Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim speaking during a briefing after a meeting with South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk at a hotel in Seoul, South Korea. PHOTO: AP