Takehiro Funakoshi (centre), Sung Kim (left), and Noh Kyu-duk attend a meeting in Tokyo. AP
North Korea said on Monday that it successfully tested newly developed long-range cruise missiles over the weekend. In response top nuclear envoys from Japan, the United States and South Korea held talks in Tokyo on Tuesday.
It was North Korea’s first known testing activity in months, underscoring how the country continues to expand its military capabilities amid a stalemate in nuclear negotiations with the United States.
Senior diplomats met to discuss North Korea’s missile and nuclear development the day after Pyongyang announced it successfully test fired a new long-range cruise missiles.
The Academy of National Defense Science conducts long-range cruise missile tests in North Korea. Reuters
North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported that the missiles showed they can hit targets 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) away on Saturday and Sunday.
"The recent developments in the DPRK are a reminder of the importance of close communication and cooperation from the three countries," Sung Kim, the US special envoy for North Korea, said in his opening remarks, using the initials of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, its official name.
North Korea says it needs nuclear weapons in order to deter what it claims is hostility from the US and South Korea — and has long attempted to use the threat of such an arsenal to extract much-needed economic aid or otherwise apply pressure.
South Korea's Noh Kyu-duk (right) speaks during the Japan-US-ROK trilateral meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday. AFP
US President Joe Biden's administration has said it is still prepared to engage with Pyongyang despite the recent missile test, but has so far shown no willingness to ease sanctions.
Pyongyang has said it sees no sign of policy changes from the United States, citing issues such as sanctions as well as joint military drills with South Korea, which it says are preparation for an attack.
The North and ally China faced off against South Korea and US-led UN forces in the 1950-53 Korean War, a conflict that ended in an armistice that has yet to be replaced with a peace treaty.
South Korea’s Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo on Saturday fended off calls to step up pressure on North Korea after it test-fired missiles last month. Jeong told an annual security conference in Singapore
The latest launch came after the South Korean and US militaries began mainly computer-simulated joint exercises on Monday to test Seoul's ability to take operational control in wartime.
Kim said the latest missile test was “an occasion to send an adequate warning to the joint military drill now underway by the US and South Korean authorities,” according to KCNA.
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The Health Ministry stressed in a statement on Monday that its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.
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