SEOUL – North Korea launched two ballistic missiles off the east coast on Wednesday, the country first ballistic missile test in six months and a violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibiting the country from conducting such tests.
The launch comes a day after a special envoy from the United States urged North Korea to resume talks about nuclear weapons, saying Washington has no “hostile” intentions towards Pyongyang. North Korea conducted its last ballistic missile test in March. On the weekend, it test-fired what it called newly developed long-range cruise missiles.
The resumption of North Korea’s missile tests came as neighboring countries stepped up efforts to get Pyongyang back on the negotiating table. North Korea is using weapons tests to improve its missile technology and increase its reach in Washington.
South Korean and U.S. defense officials are reviewing data collected from North Korea’s missile test to determine what type of ballistic missiles were fired on Wednesday and how far they flew, the South Korean Defense Ministry said. in a statement.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense has issued a statement saying a “thing that could be a ballistic missile was fired by North Korea,” but “assumes” that it did not reach Japan’s territorial waters or the exclusive economic zone. ito.
News of North Korea’s missile test broke shortly after China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, North Korea’s biggest supporter, ended a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Chung Eui-yong , in Seoul.
“Not only in North Korea, but also other countries engaged in military activities,” Mr. Wang said when asked by reporters to comment on the North’s cruise-missile test over the weekend. “We must all work together to continue the dialogue. We all look forward to contributing to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”
Mr. Wang did not explain, but the United States and South Korea conducted joint military exercises last month. North Korea has accused Washington and Seoul of preparing to invade the North, and typically counters a joint military drill between two allies with their own military exercises or weapons tests.
“The United States has no hostile intent towards” North Korea, Sung Kim, the Biden administration’s special envoy, said on Tuesday in Tokyo, where he met with representatives from Japan and South Korea to discuss the North. He said Washington expects North Korea “to respond positively to our multiple offers to meet without preconditions.”
Recent tests have shown that North Korea has continued to improve its arsenal of missiles despite a series of resolutions from the United Nations Security Council banning North Korea from developing or testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
Motoko Mayaman contributed reporting from Tokyo.