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US foreign policy

White House confirms North Korea missile launches, but says its ‘normal activity’

Published: Updated:

Senior White House officials confirmed Tuesday that North Korea launched missiles last weekend but quickly downplayed the activity as insignificant.

“While we take all of this military activity seriously … we see this action in the category of normal activity, normal military activity by the North,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters during a phone call.

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A second administration official said the missile test “did not fall into the category” of provocative activity, in contrast with what Pyongyang has done before.

US President Joe Biden has had officials reach out to North Korea in a bid to restart negotiations over its nuclear weapons program. But North Korea, similar to Iran, has ignored Washington’s efforts.

As for the weekend missile launches, both administration officials said UN Security Council resolutions did not sanction the “short-range” systems.

While the administration officials lauded Trump administration officials for their advice on dealing with North Korea, no talks have been held with Washington in over a year.

The White House officials also said they did not want to close the door on any potential talks with North Korea.

“We don’t believe that it is in our best interest to hype these things up,” the second official told reporters.

It was also revealed that Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan would meet with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Washington. The meetings will come as the Biden administration concludes its policy review of North Korea.

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