North Korea fired an unidentified short-range missile into the sea early Tuesday morning, just moments before Pyongyang called on the U.S. to end military activity around the Korean Peninsula.
The South Korean military said the launch came about 6:40 a.m. local time, adding that it was analyzing flight data to determine what type of weapon it may be. Yonhap News later added that the Japanese government said the missile appeared to be a ballistic weapon, which would violate United Nations resolutions barring North Korea from developing or testing such devices.
The launch came just before an envoy to North Korea spoke before the United Nations and urged the United States to end its “hostile efforts” toward Pyongyang.
“Nobody can deny the righteous right to self-defense for the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] to develop, test, manufacture, and possess the weapon systems, equivalent to the ones which are possessed or being developed by them,” the ambassador, Kim Song, said in an address, according to Reuters. “We are just building up our national defense in order to defend ourselves and reliably safeguard the security and peace of the country.”
Negotiations between the U.S. and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have languished since 2019 after talks with then-President Donald Trump collapsed. However, North Korea has signaled in recent months that it would be open to talks with other nations once more. Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, recently said Pyongyang would consider meeting with South Korea to declare an official end to the Korean War, although she cautioned there was work to be done before the two nations could come to the table.
The Washington Post notes that North Korea has so far rebuffed any efforts by the Biden administration to restart talks between the nations until the U.S. issues full sanctions relief and joint military drills with Seoul.
South Korea’s Blue House said shortly after Tuesday’s launch that it regretted the missile was fired “during the time when stabilization of the situation on the Korean Peninsula is essential,” NK News reported.
North Korea has tested several weapons in recent weeks. The communist country said it tested new long-range cruise missiles on Sept. 11 and 12, and then fired two short-range ballistic missiles a few days later, on Sept. 15.
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