Wednesday, October 20, 2021

North Korea says it fired anti-aircraft missile, fourth recent test

by Hyung-jin Kim

Seoul, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said on Friday that it tested a new anti-aircraft missile, the fourth weapons launch in recent weeks, in what experts say could seek relief from sanctions and other concessions. Part of the strategy.

South Korea, Japan and the United States generally publicly affirm North Korean ballistic missile launches, which are prohibited by UN resolutions, shortly after they occur. But he did not do so for Thursday, indicating that the weapon tested may be of a different kind. Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Friday that South Korean and US intelligence officials monitored North Korea’s activities, but did not give details.

Three weeks ago, North Korea resumed missile tests after a six-month hiatus. As has ever been the case before, the North linked the show of force with a more conciliatory gesture, earlier this week offering to reactivate the hotline, which North and South Korea used to set up meetings, border Let’s make arrangements for crossing and avoid accidental skirmishes.

Diplomacy aimed at getting the North to give up its nuclear arsenal in exchange for economic and political rewards has largely been at a standstill since early 2019. It has left North Korea under US-led economic sanctions at a time when its fragile economy is facing massive setbacks. Due to the coronavirus pandemic. The North’s latest moves appear to be aimed at putting pressure on South Korea, which seeks to improve strained ties on the peninsula, by persuading the US to ease sanctions.

On Friday, the Korean Central News Agency said the anti-aircraft missile test was “of great practical importance in the study and development of various potential anti-aircraft missile systems.”

Professor Kim Dong-yub from the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said the launch appeared to be an early stage of testing to develop a missile designed to shoot down enemy missiles and aircraft. He said the missile is similar to the Russian-made S-400 air defense system, which he said has a maximum range of 400 kilometers (250 mi) and is reportedly capable of intercepting stealth jets.

The UN Security Council received a briefing on the recent launch and humanitarian and COVID-19 situations in North Korea in an emergency meeting in closed rooms on Friday, but took no action. Diplomats said China and Russia have made it clear they do not want a press statement expressing concern over the launch, which was suggested by France.

Diplomats said on condition of anonymity, while the United States, Britain, France and other council members raised the risks posed by the tests, with China calling on the US and United States to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. Threatened the agreement of the nation. Because the conversation was private.

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Earlier this week, in the latest mixed signal from his government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed a desire to restore communications hotlines with South Korea in the coming days, but he called US proposals for talks “cunning”. Also touted as hiding. hostility against the North. He also stressed that South Korea abandons its “dual behavior” if it wants to see an improvement in Korean relations. His comments largely echoed the demands of his powerful sister, who has led the North’s ongoing pressure campaign.

South Korea has said it will prepare to restore cross-border phone and fax lines, which have been dormant for more than a year. But according to Seoul’s unification ministry, as of Friday afternoon, North Korea remained unresponsive to South Korea’s attempt to exchange messages through channels.

During Armed Forces Day celebrations on Friday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed to thwart any attempts to endanger the lives of his people and will strive to achieve lasting peace. But he did not mention North Korea’s recent tests in a possible attempt to keep the prospect of talks between Koreas alive.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that US officials are still assessing the recent missile launch. He said officials in the Biden administration have attempted to reach out to North Koreans to promote talks, but there has been no response from the regime.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Thursday that Washington “definitely supports” inter-Korean talks in principle. But he said the US was concerned about North Korea’s recent launches, which he called a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and created “greater potential for instability and insecurity”.

UN resolutions ban any ballistic activity by North Korea.

Among the weapons North Korea tested in September were a new hypersonic missile, a newly developed cruise missile and a train-launched ballistic missile. South Korea’s military assessed the hypersonic missile to be in the early stages of development, but experts say the other weapons launched demonstrated the North’s ability to strike targets in South Korea and Japan, which US troops would be capable of. Major US allies hosting Earlier this week, the US Indo-Pacific Command said its commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan “remains ironic.”

North Korea hasn’t tested a long-range missile capable of reaching the US mainland for nearly four years – experts see this as a sign that it is carefully reducing its provocations to keep alive its opportunities for diplomacy. Calibrating.

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Associated Press writers Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

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