US ‘strongly condemns’ launch of ballistic missile by North Korea

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The United States said Wednesday it “strongly condemns” North Korea’s latest launch of a long-range ballistic missile and urged Pyongyang to end its destabilizing actions and come to the table for negotiations.

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“This launch is a brazen violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and needlessly raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region,” National Security Council spokesperson Adam Hodge said in a statement.

South Korea’s military said North Korea fired a long-range ballistic missile in a lofted trajectory from the Pyongyang area at about 10:00 am (0100 GMT), just days after Pyongyang threatened to down US spy planes that violated its airspace.

Relations between the two Koreas are at one of their lowest points ever, with diplomacy stalled and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calling for increased weapons development, including tactical nukes.

The latest test launch “demonstrates that the DPRK continues to prioritize its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs over the well-being of its people,” Hodge said.

“We urge all countries to condemn these violations and call on the DPRK to come to the table for serious negotiations,” the spokesman added.

“The door has not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its destabilizing actions and instead choose diplomatic engagement,” he continued, stressing the United States will “take all necessary measures” to ensure its security and that of its allies South Korea and Japan.

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