Two senior officials in the Biden administration told reporters during a briefing that the North Korean activity involved weapons systems that were not covered by the Security Council’s test bans from the UN.
Two other US officials, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters news agency that North Korea fired two short-range missiles but declined to give further details.
During a visit to Ohio, Biden told reporters, referring to the North Korean government: “We have learned that nothing has changed much. ”
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday that North Korea fired two cruise missiles off its west coast on Sunday, adding that it was monitoring the test in real time.
“What they fired were cruise missiles, not ballistic missiles, and they were detected by our means,” a Defense Ministry source quoted by the Yonhap News Agency said.
The tests are the first since July of last year, when Pyongyang fired what was also thought to be a cruise missile, and took place as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up a visit to Asia from Northeast calling on China to use its influence to convince Pyongyang to give. its nuclear program.
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, bragged about his ability to work with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the two have met three times in 2018 and 2019. However, the Trump summit did not managed to achieve a breakthrough, as talks collapsed following US calls on Pyongyang to drop nuclear weapons and North Korea’s demands for an end to sanctions.
US officials, who are reviewing North Korean and South Korean policy, appeared to downplay the latest tests, which have yet to be recognized by the North. Offers to resume talks have so far been rejected with Kim Jo Yong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, warning the United States last week of “the stench” if it wanted the stink. peace.
Ankit Panda, a senior member of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that if the test involved a cruise missile, it was probably a KN-19 (also known as Kumsong-3).
“The North Korean cruise missile tests do not violate UNSCR 1718, but we should probably be more concerned than we are about their continued progress in this area – especially with Kim Jong’s 8th Party Congress One that talks about a new “mid-range” cruise missile, ”Panda wrote on Twitter.
The North carried out a series of missile tests during the first part of last year, as the rest of the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysts believe the same type of missile was tested in April and July last year, the NK News website said.
Yonhap also reported “signs” that Pyongyang was deploying several rocket launchers and other weapons on the western border islet of Changrin.
“Our army has been following and monitoring North Korea’s military movements closely, while South Korean and US intelligence authorities maintain close cooperation,” said the chief of staff spokesman. Colonel Kim Jun-rak, during a regular briefing, according to the South. Korean News Agency.
“Leaving all possibilities open, we maintain a posture of preparation,” he added.
A military official said the signs were first detected a few months ago and noted that a large number of soldiers and “many types” of weapons, including coastal guns, were stationed there.
Changrin is located just north of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto Inter-Korean maritime border, and approximately 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Yeonpyeong Island in South Korea.
Last month, a report of independent UN observers said North Korea had maintained and developed its nuclear and ballistic missile programs throughout 2020 in violation of international sanctions.
The country showcased new short and medium-range ballistic missile systems, launched underwater and intercontinental in a series of military parades during the year. Last month, he unveiled what he called “the world’s most powerful weapon” during a military parade in Pyongyang to mark the ruling party’s 8th convention.