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North Korea fires 2 ballistic missiles off its east coast

SEOUL – North Korea on Wednesday launched two ballistic missiles off its east coast, the country’s first ballistic missile test in six months and a violation of several UN Security Council resolutions that ban the country from carrying out such tests.

The launch came a day after the US special envoy urged North Korea to resume nuclear disarmament talks, saying Washington had no “hostile” intentions towards Pyongyang. North Korea conducted its last ballistic missile test in March. Over the weekend, he tested what he called newly developed long-range cruise missiles.

North Korea’s resumption of missile testing came as neighboring countries stepped up efforts to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table. North Korea uses weapons tests to both improve its missile technology and increase its influence over Washington.

South Korean and American defense officials were analyzing data collected during the North Korean missile test to determine what type of ballistic missiles were fired on Wednesday and how far they flew, the South Korean ministry of defense said. Defense in a press release.

Japan’s Defense Ministry issued a statement saying “object which could be a ballistic missile was fired by North Korea” but it is “assumed” that it did not reach the waters territories of Japan or its exclusive economic zone.

News of the North Korean missile test fell shortly after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, North Korea’s biggest supporter, finished a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Chung Eui-yong. , in Seoul.

“It is not only North Korea, but also other countries that are engaged in military activities,” Wang said when asked by reporters to comment on the North Korean cruise missile test on weekend. “We must all work together to resume the dialogue. We all hope to contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Wang did not give details, but the United States and South Korea conducted joint military exercises last month. North Korea has accused Washington and Seoul of preparing to invade the North and generally opposes joint military exercises between the two allies with its own military exercises or weapons tests.

“The United States has no hostile intentions towards” North Korea, said Sung Kim, the Biden administration’s special envoy, in Tokyo, where he met with representatives from Japan and Korea. South to discuss the North. He said Washington hoped North Korea “would respond positively to our multiple offers to meet without preconditions.”

The latest tests have shown that North Korea continues to improve its missile arsenal despite a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions banning North Korea from developing or testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

Motoko Rich contributed to Tokyo reporting.

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