US urges North Korea to join direct talks after missile test

The United States has made a direct appeal to North Korea to join direct talks – without preconditions – on its nuclear and missile programs.

The US call comes after Pyongyang tested what is believed to be a medium-range ballistic missile.

“We believe it is entirely appropriate and entirely correct that we begin to have some serious discussions,” a senior administration official, Joe Biden, told reporters.

The official added that the recent North Korean test is part of an increasingly destabilizing pattern, as he put it.

Seoul said Sunday that Pyongyang has launched its most powerful missile since 2017, in the seventh such missile test this month.

Japan, South Korea and the United States have condemned the missile test, with North Korea accused of destabilizing activities.

Last Thursday, North Korea launched two ballistic missiles into the sea. Pyongyang defends its missile tests as a sovereign right of self-defense, accusing Washington and Seoul of pursuing a “hostile policy” and double standards over missile tests.

In a speech before the New Year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for a reinforcement of the military with the latest technology, at a time when talks with South Korea and the United States are faltering.

It should be noted that North Korea has been subject since 2006 to a series of economic, trade and military sanctions, under resolutions issued by the Security Council annually since then, due to Pyongyang’s ballistic and nuclear missile programs.

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