The National Security Council (NSC) released a statement condemning North Korea’s missile testing, saying the Biden administration is “assessing” the situation, along with United States allies.
“The United States strongly condemns the DPRK for its test of a long-range ballistic missile,” NSC spokesperson Adam Hodge said in a statement released by the White House on July 12.
DPRK refers to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Mr. Hodge went on to say that North Korea’s launch was “a brazen violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and needlessly raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region.
“This action demonstrates that the DPRK continues to prioritize its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs over the well-being of its people. We urge all countries to condemn these violations and call on the DPRK to come to the table for serious negotiations.
The spokesperson went on to emphasize that “The door has not closed on diplomacy” but that North Korean officials “must immediately cease its destabilizing actions and instead choose diplomatic engagement.
“The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland and Republic of Korea and Japanese allies.”
The Missile Test
The White House’s statement came in response to North Korea’s conducting its first intercontinental ballistic missile test in three months just hours earlier. The test took place days after the country threatened “shocking” consequences in response to what it deemed to be provocative U.S. reconnaissance activity near its territory.
Some experts believe North Korea launched its road-mobile, developmental Hwasong-18 ICBM, which is more difficult to detect and intercept than its liquid-fuel ICBMs. Kim Jong Un previously described the Hwasong-18 as the most potent weapon in his nuclear arsenal.
According to South Korean and Japanese assessments, the missile, launched from North Korea’s capital region around 10 a.m. local time, traveled approximately 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) at a maximum altitude of 6,000 kilometers (3,740 miles) before impacting in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. According to observers, the missile was launched at a steep angle in an apparent effort to circumvent neighboring countries.
According to Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, the missile flew for 74 minutes, the longest travel duration ever recorded for a North Korean weapon. The previous record of 71 minutes was set last year during a test flight of the Hwasong-17 ICBM powered by liquid propellant.
The military of South Korea described the launch as a provocation and implored North Korea to refrain from further launches. Mr. Matsuno criticized North Korea’s repeated missile launches are a threat to the peace and security of Japan, the region, and even the international community.
According to Seoul’s Foreign Ministry, in a trilateral phone call, the chief nuclear envoys of South Korea, Japan, and the United States agreed to deal sternly with North Korean provocations and increase their coordination to promote a firmer international response to the North’s nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea’s previous launch on June 15, featured two short-range ballistic missiles that touched down inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
North Korea’s Position
Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, claimed on July 10 that reconnaissance aircraft and drones from the United States Air Force had violated the airspace of North Korea’s exclusive economic zone.
“I have already notified beforehand the counteraction of our army upon authorization,” she was quoted as saying by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
If the U.S. forces continue to trespass into North Korea’s airspace, she threatened “a very critical flight,” according to KCNA. The Defense Ministry of North Korea issued a threat to shoot down any spies who violated its airspace.
North Korea said that between July 2 and July 9, the United States had flown RC-135, U-2S, and RQ-4B surveillance planes and a drone over the East and West seas of Korea and threatened to make the United States “pay the price.”
“In particular, a strategic reconnaissance plane of the U.S. Air Force illegally intruded into the inviolable airspace of the DPRK over its East Sea tens of kilometers several times,” the North’s ministry stated.
North Korea’s accusations have been refuted by American officials, who also urged dialogue. Sabrina Singh, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon, reaffirmed that American military operations adhere to international law.
“I just don’t have anything more to say on those comments or threats coming out of North Korea. We operate responsibly and safely in international waterways and airspace wherever we can,” she said.
Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the State Department, has encouraged North Korea to hold off on adopting escalatory measures and reaffirmed that Washington is ready to speak with North Korea without conditions.
Mr. Miller told reporters, “We’ve made that clear on a number of occasions, and unfortunately, they have refused to engage in a meaningful way.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.