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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

US warns of 'consequences' as North Korea confirms new missile test

Iran Press TV

Friday, 26 March 2021 5:22 AM

North Korea confirms it has tested a new guided missile that accurately hit the target off the eastern coast, in the first major weapons test this year, which prompted US President Joe Biden to threaten Pyongyang with "consequences."

Pyongyang launched two "new-type tactical guided projectiles" on Thursday, said the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in a statement on Friday.

The weapon, which can carry a warhead of up to 2.5 tons, flew approximately 300 miles over the East Sea and accurately hit the target off the coast, according to KCNA.

Top official Ri Pyong Chol, who supervised the test, described the new weapon's development as "of great significance in bolstering up the military power of the country."

Ri said the new missiles will be "deterring all sorts of military threats existing on the Korean Peninsula."

South Korean observers said the weapon has a better chance of evading missile defense systems than previous missiles.

The US, Japan and South Korea reported on Wednesday evening that Pyongyang had launched what appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles.

Biden threatens response

The North's first major weapons test since Biden took office prompted an immediate response from the US president.

"We're consulting with our allies and partners," he told a news conference Thursday. "And there will be responses if they choose to escalate. We will respond accordingly."

Biden said his administration is "also prepared for some form of diplomacy, but it has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearization."

Washington asked for a meeting of the UN Security Council Committee, which was to take place on Friday morning behind closed doors, to discuss North Korea's new missile test.

The committee includes representatives from all 15 nations on the council.

North Korea has long been under harsh sanctions by the United Nations and the US over its nuclear and missile programs, which it describes as deterrent against another possible invasion.

Just days earlier, the North fired several cruise missiles in an exercise that Biden had describe as "business as usual."

Biden has said North Korea is his administration's top foreign policy issue.

A Washington-based North Korea monitoring project, North 38, said some observers have predicted that Pyongyang might return to testing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) — something it has not done since 2017.

The North's leader Kim Jong-un put a moratorium on the country's nuclear and missile tests and demolished a nuclear testing facility back in 2018 in a goodwill gesture in the course of diplomacy with former President Donald Trump who wracked it with inflexible policies.

Kim and Trump met three times, but diplomacy gradually halted owing to Washington's refusal to relieve any of its harsh sanctions on Pyongyang in exchange for the goodwill measures.

In return, Kim ended the halt on the country's missile tests and said Pyongyang would soon develop a "new strategic weapon."

The talks have also been deadlocked since February 2019.

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