November 30, 2021

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North Korea fires ballistic missile into sea in latest test

Seoul, October 19

North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea on in a continuation of its recent weapons tests, the South Korean and Japanese militaries said, hours after the US Tuesday reaffirmed its offer to resume diplomacy on the North’s nuclear weapons programme.

The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff didn’t immediately say what kind of ballistic missile it was or how far it flew. Japan’s coast guard issued a maritime safety advisory to ships but didn’t immediately know where the weapon landed.

South Korea’s presidential office was planning to hold a National Security Council meeting to discuss the launch. A strong South Korean response could anger North Korea, which has been accusing Seoul of hypocrisy for criticizing the North’s weapons tests while expanding its own conventional military capabilities.

Ending a months-long lull in September, North Korea has been ramping up its weapons tests while making conditional peace offers to Seoul, reviving a pattern of pressuring South Korea to try to get what it wants from the United States.

Within days, President Joe Biden’s special envoy for North Korea, Sung Kim, is schedule to hold talks with US allies in Seoul over the prospects of reviving talks with North Korea.

Nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled for more than two years over disagreements in exchanging the release of crippling US-led sanctions against North Korea and the North’s denuclearisation steps.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to strengthen his nuclear deterrent since his diplomatic fallout with then-President Donald Trump. AP