North Korea Launches 2 Ballistic Missiles, Condemning UN Meeting

Earlier on Thursday, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning the United States for redeploying its aircraft carrier group back to the waters off the peninsula. It criticized a United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday that discussed its recent missile provocations and additional sanctions against the country. The ministry said the tests were “just counteraction measures” against the joint military drills the United States conducted with its allies last month, and accused its enemies of “unwarrantedly” referring it to the Security Council.

North Korea “is watching the U.S. posing a serious threat to the stability of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity,” the statement said.

In recent months, North Korea has conducted a flurry of ballistic missiles tests in violation of Security Council resolutions. Washington has tried to persuade the Council to impose additional sanctions against Pyongyang. China and Russia, both veto-wielding powers, have rejected those moves, insisting that the United States restart dialogue with Pyongyang and consider easing sanctions.

North Korea has traditionally conducted its own military drills, including weapons tests, when the United States and its allies carry out joint military exercises in the region. The North calls those exercises rehearsals for invasion, while Washington, Seoul and Tokyo have said the drills help safeguard against the North’s growing nuclear threat.

With the barrage of missile tests recently, analysts and government officials in Tokyo, Seoul and Washington are bracing for North Korea to conduct a nuclear test.

After the test on Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, traveling in Santiago, Chile, said: “We believe that North Korea would be much better served by not only refraining from these actions, but actually engaging in dialogue. I think what we’re seeing is that if we continue down this road, it will only increase the condemnation, increase the isolation, increase the steps that are taken in response to their actions.”

Motoko Rich reported from Tokyo, and Choe Sang-Hun from Seoul. Michael Crowley contributed reporting from Santiago, Chile; and Hikari Hida and Hisako Ueno from Tokyo.

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