North Korea has been back in the news cycle recently due to the country’s missile test-firing activities. So what’s the latest?
Last week, North Korea began firing newly developed missiles, with the most recent test marking North Korea’s first underwater-launched test since October 2019. South Korean officials say the missiles appear to be in an early stage of development.
It’s important to note, North Korea has been test-firing for a little while.
Last week’s test was the fifth round of weapons tests in recent weeks.
Last month, North Korea reported it had carried out successful tests of long-range cruise missiles that flew 1,500km before hitting their targets and falling into the country’s territorial waters. North Korea is part of a small group of countries, including the U.S, Russia, China and India, who are attempting to develop the weapons.
What has the U.S. said?
The latest rounds of testing come amid stalled talks between the U.S. and North Korea over dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs in return for sanctions relief. Talks have remained in gridlock since 2019.
Most recently, Sung Kim, the U.S. envoy on North Korea, spoke on the topic over the weekend saying, “We call on the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] to cease these provocations and other destabilising activities, and instead, engage in dialogue”. He also said, “We remain ready to meet with the DPRK without preconditions and we have made clear that the United States harbours no hostile intent towards the DPRK”.
What has North Korea said?
These comments from the U.S. come after North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un vowed to build an “invincible military”, earlier this month. According to the BBC, Kim further explained that the weapons development was for self-defence, and not to start a war. “We are not discussing war with anyone, but rather to prevent war itself and to literally increase war deterrence for the protection of national sovereignty”, he said.