The U.S. State Department on Wednesday urged North Korea to refrain from “provocations,” in a statement issued hours after the DPRK was reported to have test-fired a missile from its east coast.
Speaking in Rome as part of an official delegation led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a spokesperson urged North Korea not to conduct any more tests.
“We call on the DPRK to refrain from provocations,” they said, calling on Pyongyang to “abide by their obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions, and remain engaged in substantive and sustained negotiations.”
She also urged the North “to do their part to ensure peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and achieve denuclearization.”
The response is one of the sternest rebukes from the U.S. in response to a North Korean missile test in months, with President Donald Trump having frequently downplayed such exercises as being of little concern.
DPRK leader Kim Jong Un last year pledged an end to long-range missile and nuclear testing, a moratorium that Trump has consistently touted as a key diplomatic success.
Wednesday’s test, however, may have brought North Korea closer to ending that moratorium, with South Korea earlier in the day saying it may have been of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
The missile — purportedly of a Pukguksong-class — flew around 450 km from the DPRK’s east coast, a statement from the South Korean military said, at an apogee of around 910 km.
The range of Wednesday’s launch — and the fact that it is reported to have splashed down in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) — was particularly significant, one expert told NK News.
“This cannot be easily dismissed as a routine test,” Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said.
The test also comes just a few days ahead of expected working-level talks between North Korea and the U.S., set to kick-off with a preliminary meeting on Friday.
Edited by Colin Zwirko
Featured image: KCNA