The North Korean regime must “retake the diplomatic path”, urged the US envoy to North Korea on Monday, after an unprecedented series of missile tests by Pyongyang.
Since the beginning of the year, North Korea has carried out more than a dozen tests, including the launch of a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), for the first time since 2017.
Last weekend, North Korea also tested a weapons system designed to increase the effectiveness of such nuclear weapons.
Sung Kim, the US Administration’s emissary to North Korea, arrived in Seoul today for a five-day visit, where he has already met with his South Korean counterpart, Noh Kyu-duk.
The two officials have already jointly condemned “the recent escalation of Pyongyang’s acts” having recorded the launch of at least three ICBM missiles.
“We agree on the need for a strong response to the destabilizing behavior of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” Sung Kim told reporters.
“We also discussed how to respond to the DPRK’s upcoming acts, namely a possible nuclear test”, he added.
The US special envoy reiterated Washington’s position on proposals for new meetings with Pyongyang representatives.
“The United States has not closed the door to diplomacy,” he declared, urging Pyongyang to follow the diplomatic path.
“I must mention that we have no intention of hostility against the DPRK,” he said.
Pyongyang has rejected negotiating proposals, accusing Washington of maintaining “policies of hostility”.
The visit by the US diplomat comes as Seoul and Washington begin their annual military exercises, which are expected to last for nine days.
These joint maneuvers, which always arouse Pyongyang’s opposition, have been scaled back in recent years by Korean President Moon Jae-in, in an attempt to prevail “a policy of dialogue” with North Korea.
“This exercise is defensive training that uses computer simulations and is not truly a military maneuver,” the South Korean General Staff said on Sunday.
The United States has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea.
Pyongyang even suspended long-range missile tests at the time of contacts between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in 2019.
Contacts at the highest level did not take place again.