Published: Fri, October 11, 2019

Korea poses one of the biggest ballistic missile threats to US

Korea poses one of the biggest ballistic missile threats to US

"Our patience is running out, and it is not guaranteed that what we have been restraining from will last indefinitely", the statement said.

The statement came days after a breakdown of the first working-level talks between the USA and North Korea in months.

But North Korea's foreign ministry spokesman, in a statement reported by its state KCNA news agency, raised questions about that restraint.

Despite the recent tests, Pyongyang has stuck to a freeze in testing of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles that has been in place since 2017 and allowed for three meetings between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. President Donald Trump since previous year. -North Korea diplomacy, following Saturday's failed working-level talks in Stockholm, Sweden.

In their statement at the UN Tuesday, the Europeans - France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Britain and Estonia - condemned Pyongyang's tests and urged it to engage in "good faith in meaningful negotiations with the United States".

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), a Washington-based think tank, in its report "Defense Primer: Ballistic Missile Defense", released on Wednesday, said that North Korea has hundreds of short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) in-store that can inflict massive damage on all of South Korea and perhaps dozens of medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) capable of destroying Japan and the American bases in the region, Yonhap news agency reported.

On Thursday, North Korea said such test-firing was part of its right to self-defense, slamming European Union members of the U.N. Security Council for issuing a statement condemning the latest SLBM test. The North could respond, it added, but said "we believe it is too early and not necessary to do so". The announcement came amid renewed diplomacy with the US and South Korea.

The North then walked away from the Stockholm talks on Saturday saying it was disappointed at the lack of "new and creative" solutions offered by Washington, although the U.S. said it was willing to meet again in two weeks.

However, North Korean officials have since threatened to resume the tests several times, amid the breakdown in talks.

U.S. President Donald Trump has played down the North's missile tests, saying they are not long-range and do not threaten the United States.

Asked about the latest statement, a U.S. State Department spokesman repeated a call for the North Koreans "to refrain from provocations, abide by their obligations under U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and remain engaged in substantive and sustained negotiations".

The game would be the first competitive meeting between the national men's teams in the North Korean capital, although the North hosted the South for a friendly there in 1990.

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