The United States remains open to dialogue with North Korea despite the growing tensions caused by the latter’s missile launches and warplanes deployment near the border of South Korea, a U.S. official said Friday.
North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile into the sea and blasted about 560 artillery shots into the maritime buffer zones between the two Koreas on Friday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
On that same day, South Korea’s military scrambled fighter jets after spotting 10 North Korean warplanes staging menacing flights near its border. There were no reports of clashes between the two countries.
“I would reiterate again that our position on diplomacy and dialogue remains the same, even in the light of these recent developments,” Vedant Patel, the U.S. State Department’s principal deputy spokesperson, told reporters.
Patel said that Washington condemned North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches and urged the Kim Jong-un regime to cease all provocative actions and return to diplomacy.
“We continue to believe our ultimate goal is the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and we continue to remain open to diplomacy and dialogue as a step towards getting there,” he added.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said Friday that North Korea’s artillery launch into buffer zones violated a 2018 inter-Korean agreement, which called for the cessation of hostile military activity between the two countries.
“We’re building a readiness posture against North Korea’s provocations without leaving any gaps and by doing our best,” Yoon told The Korea Times while emphasizing the need for his people to have “a firm awareness” of North Korea.
North Korea Vows ‘Overwhelming Military Countermeasures’
The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Saturday published a statement from a spokesperson for the communist regime’s Korean People’s Army (KPA), who warned of “overwhelming military countermeasures” against enemies.
“The South Korean army would be well advised to stop at once its reckless provocation inciting the military tension in the front areas,” KPA’s spokesperson said.
North Korea has escalated its missile launches and dispatched warplanes in retaliation for South Korea’s joint military drills with the United States on the Korean Peninsula, which it regards as an “invasion rehearsal.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said that his country has no intention of engaging in dialogue with enemies posing military threats to the hermit nation as he felt “no necessity to do so.”
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said last month that Washington has attempted to engage North Korea in dialogue for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but the Kim regime has refused to cooperate.
“This offer of dialogue and diplomacy has, at least so far, been met only with additional provocations,” Price said at a press briefing on Sept. 26.
From The Epoch Times