SEOUL, Nov 17 (Reuters) – North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Thursday as it warned of “fierce military responses” to US efforts to increase its security presence in the region with its allies. Washington is taking a “gamble it will regret”. “.
The South Korean military said the ballistic missile was launched at 10:48 am (0248 GMT) from the northern city of Wonsan on the north coast. It was the latest in a record number of such tests this year, and the north also recently fired hundreds of artillery shells into the sea as South Korea and the United States staged exercises, some with Japan.
The launch came less than two hours after North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui denounced a recent trilateral summit between the United States, South Korea and Japan where the leaders criticized Pyongyang’s weapons tests and pledged greater security cooperation.
During the talks, US President Joe Biden reaffirmed his commitment to bolster comprehensive deterrence and defend the two Asian allies with a “full range of capabilities”, including nuclear weapons.
Choe said the three countries’ “war exercises for aggression” failed to contain the North, but would rather bring a “more serious, realistic and inevitable threat” upon themselves.
“The more excited the US is about the ‘enhanced supply of expanded deterrence’ to its allies and the more it intensifies provocative and bluffing military activity… KCNA news agency.
She referred to her country by the initials of its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The US will be well aware that it is gambling, which they will definitely regret,” added Choe.
A South Korean defense ministry spokesman said the trilateral summit and their cooperation on extended deterrence are aimed at countering the North’s nuclear and missile threats.
The United States has said since May that North Korea is preparing to conduct its first nuclear test since 2017, but the exact timing remains unclear.
Washington, Seoul and Tokyo said in a joint statement after the summit that Pyongyang’s nuclear tests would produce a “strong and determined response.”
Choe said the north’s military activities are “legitimate and just countermeasures” to the US-led exercises.
South Korean Unification Minister Kwon Young-se, who handles intra-Korean affairs, said the North could postpone its nuclear test for some time, citing China’s domestic political program.
“North Korea also achieved some political effects by codifying its nuclear law in August, so it may not need a nuclear test immediately,” Kwon said in an interview with the Yonhap news agency released Thursday.
Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Additional reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Edited by Jacqueline Wong, Lincoln Feast and Gerry Doyle
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