People watch a television news broadcast showing file footage of a DPRK missile test, at a railway station in Seoul on April 14, 2020. (JUNG YEON-JE / AFP)
SEOUL/WASHINGTON - Officials from the United States and Republic of Korea (ROK) said that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) tested a short-range system over the weekend while downplaying the test as normal military activity.
Senior US administration officials told reporters in a phone briefing that the weapon system the DPRK tested over the weekend was "falling on the low end of the spectrum" and not covered by UN Security Council resolutions.
Senior US administration officials told reporters that the weapon system the DPRK tested over the weekend was "falling on the low end of the spectrum" and not covered by UN Security Council resolutions
The officials did not provide further details about the test, citing intelligence reasons. US media reported the test over the weekend involved two short-range missiles, which was the first to occur under the Joe Biden administration.
An ROK military official, who declined to be identified, confirmed to Xinhua that two projectiles, estimated to be two cruise missiles, were launched westward from the DPRK's west coast on Sunday morning.
The official said the projectiles were detected through the ROK military assets, noting that the military was analyzing further details such as the exact missile type.
According to Yonhap news agency, the cruise missiles traveled into the western waters in a short range.
It marked the first missile test-firing since April 14, 2020, when the DPRK test-launched multiple short-range cruise missiles into the eastern waters.
Both the US officials and the unnamed ROK government official said the test-fire was not in violation of UN Security Council resolutions that ban Pyongyang from testing ballistic missiles.
"It is a normal part of the kind of testing that North Korea would do. We do not believe that it is in our best interest to hype these things," said one US official. The DPRK is also referred to as North Korea.
The US official also noted the US would continue its efforts to pursue diplomacy with the DPRK in close coordination with the ROK, Japan, and China.
The senior US officials also indicated that the Biden administration is in the final stages of its policy review regarding the DPRK, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will discuss the issue with his counterparts in Japan and the ROK next week.
The weapon test came days after the DPRK denounced military exercises jointly held by the United States and the ROK last week.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last Monday that the Biden administration recently reached out to Pyongyang but had not yet received any response.
A top diplomat of the DPRK vowed that Pyongyang would ignore US outreach until Washington "rolls back its hostile policy," the official Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday.
"We have already declared our stand that no DPRK-US contact and dialogue of any kind can be possible unless the US rolls back its hostile policy towards the DPRK. Therefore, we will disregard such an attempt of the US in the future, too," DPRK First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said.
HONG KONG NEWS