North Korea is “In an act of provocation,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared during a news conference after a meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Hawaii on Saturday. The two Asian nations apparently agreed with that judgment, though not revealing details of their next steps, as Blinken added that “Our approach and determination are completely united.”
The nations jointly released a statement demanding Pyongyang engage in “dialogue” and cease its “It is illegal to engage in such activities” The country began the year with several missile tests, triggering condemnation from the three countries who met to “Very carefully consult” on future steps toward engaging with North Korea. Japanese FM Yoshimasa Hayashi told local media the discussion had been “Very fruitful,” even as he declined to offer up further details.
Last month South Korean President Moon Jae-in denounced the DPRK’s tests as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, urging his country’s northern neighbor to end “actions that create tensions and pressure.”
Although the North has stopped missile launches in Beijing during the Winter Olympics, neighbors and people watching from Washington anticipate a return to missile launches after the Games are finished. A recent Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile ballistic missile test that was thought to be capable reaching Guam, the US territory, raises concerns.
Pyongyang rejected US attempts to restart diplomacy under President Joe Biden and has vowed not to go back to negotiations unless Washington begins to roll back the hostile sanctions that keep North Koreans undersupplied and isolated. While Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump made a point of courting the leader of the Hermit Kingdom in the hope of reaching a meaningful agreement, the Panmunjom Declaration signed by North and South in 2018 was just one step on a long road to making peace with the country an earlier US president insisted on referring to as part of an “Axis of Evil.”
UN chief condemns North Korean missile launches
Talks about North Korea were effectively blocked by the 2019 summit of North Korean leaders Kim Jong-un, US President Donald Trump, in Hanoi. Since its negotiations with the West ended, North Korea has declared that it no longer adheres to an earlier self-imposed ban on missile testing.
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