Senior U.S. diplomat on Sunday urged North Korea to halt missile testing and return to nuclear diplomacy, days after North Korea fired its first underwater ballistic missile.
“We remain ready to meet with the DPRK without preconditions, and we have made clear that the United States harbors no hostile intent towards the DPRK,” added Sung Kim, Biden’s special representative for North Korea.
Earlier last week, North Korea claimed to test a new submarine-launched missile. Violating multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that ban any activity by North Korea in the area of ballistic missiles.
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 2019 and the most high-profile one since President Joe Biden took office in January.
Kim told reporters, “Our goal remains the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. That’s why Pyongyang’s recent ballistic missile test, one of several in the past six weeks, is concerning and counterproductive to making progress towards lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.”
Noh Kyu-duk, South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, said that South Korean officials and Kim had also discussed the push for a symbolic end to the Korean War, which ended in an armistice agreement in 1953 but without a peace treaty.
The concern of “submarine-launched” missiles is significant because it can make the missiles more complicated to detect and allow North Korea to deploy its weapons far beyond the Korean Peninsula.
Those weapons potentially put U.S. allies South Korea and Japan within striking range. Some experts say North Korea may also, in the coming weeks, test a missile that could reach the American homeland to maximize its pressure campaign on the United States.