Biden admin condemns North Korea missile launch, seeks ‘serious and sustained diplomacy’ with DPRK

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Biden admin condemns North Korea missile launch, seeks ‘serious and sustained diplomacy’ with DPRK

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The Biden administration is seeking “serious and sustained” diplomacy with North Korea as Pyongyang ramps up their longest-range missile testing since 2017.

Senior US officials Sunday described the rogue regimes latest moves as concerning and “increasingly destabilizing.”

North Korea on Sunday fired what appeared to be its most powerful missile since Biden took office.

NORTH KOREA TESTS MORE MISSILES IN JANUARY THAN ALL OF 2021, INCLUDING MOST POWERFUL ONE IN YEARS

The Japanese and South Korean militaries said the missile was launched on a high trajectory, apparently to avoid the territorial spaces of neighbors, and reached a maximum altitude of 2,000 kilometers—or 1,242 miles—and traveled 800 kilometers—or 497 miles—before landing in the sea.

The flight details suggest North Korea tested its longest-range ballistic missile since 2017, when it flew intercontinental ballistic missiles that demonstrated the potential to reach the U.S.

“We condemn the missile launches by the DPRK,” a senior Biden administration official said Sunday, noting that they “violate security council resolutions and pose a threat to the international community.”

“They are destabilizing and they do increase the risk to the region, as well as to our deployed forces and our allies,” the official said. “We are committed to a diplomatic approach and continue to call on the DPRK to join us on this path.”

The official said that the Biden administration’s approach is “designed for practical, calibrated efforts to address security concerns that we have and that our allies have.”

This picture taken on September 3, 2017 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 4, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attending a meeting with a committee of the Workers' Party of Korea about the test of a hydrogen bomb, at an unknown location. North Korea said it detonated a hydrogen bomb designed for a long-range missile on September 3 and called its sixth and most powerful nuclear test a "perfect success", sparking world condemnation and promises of tougher US sanctions. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

This picture taken on September 3, 2017 and released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 4, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attending a meeting with a committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea about the test of a hydrogen bomb, at an unknown location. North Korea said it detonated a hydrogen bomb designed for a long-range missile on September 3 and called its sixth and most powerful nuclear test a “perfect success”, sparking world condemnation and promises of tougher US sanctions. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)
(STR/AFP via Getty Images)

“Our end goal is a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the official said.

The official added that the Biden administration is prepared to meet with North Korean officials “without preconditions,” noting that U.S. officials have “reached out repeatedly” throughout the last year for “direct engagement” with North Korea.

“We have no hostile intent toward the DPRK,” the official said. “We are confident that our messages have been received.” 

When asked whether the Biden administration is concerned that North Korea will return to intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) testing, which the DPRK has suspended for nearly four years, the official said “yes.”

“Of course we’re concerned—concerned because fo the series of actions the DPRK has taken in recent months,” the official said. 

The official said that the United States “obviously” does not want to see “further testing,” and said they have called on the DPRK to “stop testing.”

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The official also added that the Biden administration has communicated its views with Russia and China, and said that “it is important that all sides refrain from destabilizing actions.”

As for why North Korea has restarted provocations, the official said that it is clear that they are “seeking to test a variety of systems.”

“They very much understand the significance of moving up the ladder on range, and our desire is to work together with them, and partners and allies in the region, to take the route of diplomacy, rather than confrontation,” the official said.

With regard to whether North Korea has responded to Biden administration offers for diplomatic engagement, the official said they “are still looking forward to a direct response from the DPRK.”

At this point, there have been “no serious discussions” about President Biden meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the official said, noting that they “reject” the idea that serious discussions “can only be done at that level.”

Former President Trump held a historic summit with Kim Jong Un in June 2018. 

“The president is very committed to preserving peace and security in the region,” the official said. “You will see us taking some steps that are designed to show our commitment to allies and regional security and reiterate our call for diplomacy and that we’re very serious about having discussions to address concerns on both sides.”

The official said the U.S. is “not going to turn away from the variety of tools” that they have to “make clear” they “stand ready to take appropriate actions to ensure regional stability.”

The official did not elaborate on what those actions would entail.

The test Sunday was North Korea’s seventh round of launches this month.

North Korea has completed more missile tests in the first month of 2022 than it did in the entirety of 2021, alarming South Korean officials who worry about its northern neighbor’s intentions. 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called an emergency National Security Council meeting to discuss the tests. 

Moon described the latest test as a possible “mid-range ballistic missile launch,” similar to the kind that pushed North Korea to nearly break its self-imposed moratorium on the testing of nuclear devices and longer-range missiles. 

North Korea recently convened the sixth meeting of the current Political Bureau of the Central Committee, during which General Secretary Kim Jong Un discussed the possibility of backtracking on the moratorium in response to U.S. sanctions. 

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KCNA Watch translated state media reports that the Politburo discussed how the U.S. “viciously slurred” North Korea and “committed the foolish act of taking over 20 independent sanctions measures.”

North Korean officials claimed that the U.S. “reached a danger line that cannot be overlooked anymore” and that the nation must consider “practical action” to defend its “dignity, sovereign rights and interests.”

Moon said the situation on the Korean Peninsula has started to resemble the tense dynamic that existed prior to talks between Kim and former President Donald Trump. 

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He claimed the latest test violated U.N. Security Council resolutions and served as a “challenge toward the international community’s efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, stabilize peace and find a diplomatic solution” to the nuclear standoff.

The North “should stop its actions that create tensions and pressure and respond to the dialogue offers by the international community, including South Korea and the United States,” Moon said, according to his office.

North Korea has attempted to justify its testing activity as an exercise of its right to self-defense. It has threatened stronger action after the Biden administration imposed fresh sanctions following two tests of a purported hypersonic missile earlier this month.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, Peter Aitken and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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