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N.Korea fires missile, criticises U.S. ‘hostile’ policy By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: The Permanent Mission of North Korea (Geneva) October 2, 2014, a North Korean flag flew on a mast. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea fired a missile towards the sea off its east coast on Tuesday, South Korea’s military said, as Pyongyang repeated a call for the United States and South Korea to scrap their “hostile policy” to restart talks.

According to the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missile was fired from Jagang in the north at 6:40 AM (2140 GMT). Japan’s defense ministry stated that the missile appeared to be a balistic missile. However, it did not elaborate.

This latest test highlights the continued development of North Korea’s weapon systems. It raises the stakes for talks to dismantle its ballistic and nuclear missile arsenals in exchange for U.S. sanction relief.

This launch occurred just as North Korea’s Ambassador to the United Nations called on the United States not to maintain a hostile attitude towards Pyongyang. He also stated that no one can deny the country’s rights to self defense and weapons testing.

South Korea’s President Moon Jaein directed his staff to perform a thorough analysis of North Korea’s moves in recent days and develop a response.

Boo Seungchan (defense ministry spokesperson) said at a briefing that they regret the firing of the missile when it was crucial to stabilize the Korean peninsula.

According to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the missile launched did not pose an immediate threat to America or any of its allies. However, it highlighted the “destabilizing impact” of North’s illegal weapons programs.

North Korea accuses Washington and Seoul of having “double standards”, claiming that they have denounced their weapons development, while supporting military operations.

The latest round in an arms race that has seen rivals develop increasingly advanced weapons, North Korea and South Korea tested ballistic missiles on Sept. 15.

Washington denounced the North Korean missile test and a similar test that was conducted days before by what experts believed could have been the North’s first capable cruise missile carrying a nuclear warhead. It did not mention Seoul’s submarine-launched missile ballistic (SLBM) test.

North Korea released several statements since saying that it was willing to resume inter-Korean discussions and discuss another summit, if South Korea stops being hostile and double-standards.

According to the U.S. State Department, the missile attack was a danger for North Korea’s neighbors and international community.

Kim Song, North Korea’s U.N. representative, stated that his country was strengthening its self defense and that it will respond to any offer to talk if the United States drops its hostile policies.

Kim expressed concern that it was impossible for the U.S. at the moment to withdraw its hostile policy.

Kim spoke out in reference to Moon’s call last week for an official end to the Korean War of 1950-53. Kim said Washington should stop military drills with South Korea, and any deployments of strategic weapons around the peninsula.

Korea War was ended by an armistice and not a treaty. U.S. led U.N. forces remain technically at war with North Korea.

In efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons, the issue of officially ending war is now being discussed.

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