North Korea fires missile, vows ‘fiercer’ responses to U.S., allies

SEOUL, Nov 17 (Reuters) – North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Thursday as it warned of “more fierce military responses” to U.S. efforts to bolster its security presence in the region with its allies, saying Washington was ” a game it will regret”. “.

South Korea’s military said the ballistic missile was launched from the northeastern Wonsan coast at 10:48 am (0248 GMT). It was the latest in a record number of such tests this year, with the North also firing hundreds of artillery shells into the sea more recently as South Korea and the United States staged drills, some of which involved Japan.

The launch came less than two hours after North Korea’s foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, slammed a recent trilateral summit between the United States, South Korea and Japan, during which the leaders criticized Pyongyang’s weapons tests and promised greater security. cooperation

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In the talks, US President Joe Biden reaffirmed a commitment to strengthen extended deterrence and defend the two Asian allies with a “full range of capabilities”, including nuclear weapons.

Choe said the three countries’ “military exercises for aggression” had failed to rein in the North but would rather bring a “more serious, realistic and unavoidable threat” upon itself.

“The more ardent the United States is about the ‘enhanced offer of extended deterrence’ to its allies and the more they intensify provocative and bluff military activities … the fiercer the DPRK’s military countermeasures will be,” Choe said in a statement issued by the official. . KCNA news agency.

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She referred to her country by the initials of its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The United States will be well aware that it is playing games, which it will surely regret,” added Choe.

A spokesman for South Korea’s defense ministry said the trilateral summit and their cooperation on extended deterrence are aimed at countering the North’s nuclear and missile threats.

The US has been saying since May that North Korea is preparing to conduct its first nuclear test since 2017, but its actual timing remains unclear.

Washington, Seoul and Tokyo said in a joint statement after the summit that Pyongyang’s nuclear tests would receive a “strong and resolute response.”

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Choe said the North’s military activities are “lawful and just countermeasures” to the US-led exercises.

South Korea’s Unification Minister Kwon Young-se, who handles intra-Korean affairs, said the North might delay its nuclear test for a while, citing China’s domestic political schedule.

“North Korea also achieved some political effects by codifying its nuclear law in August, so it may not have immediate needs for a nuclear test,” Kwon said in an interview with Yonhap news agency published on Thursday.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Additional reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Lincoln Feast and Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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