SKorea worries about missile shown in NKorea military parade
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea on Sunday urged North Korea to commit to its previous disarmament pledges while expressing concern over the north's exposure of a suspected new long-range missile during a military parade.
During its ruling party's 75th birthday celebrations in Pyongyang on Saturday, North Korea displayed a variety of weapon systems, including two missiles that were first made available to a foreign audience. One of these appeared to be an ICBM larger than any known ICBM in the north, and the other would likely be an upgraded version of a missile that can be launched from submarines.
While some experts claim they may be models of missiles in development, their data suggests that North Korea has been working continuously to upgrade its weapons capability during a nuclear diplomacy stalemate with the United States.
The South Korean Ministry of Defense said Sunday it had raised concerns about the fact that "North Korea has revealed weapons, including a suspected new long-range ballistic missile". A ministry statement called on North Korea to abide by the 2018 inter-Korean agreements in order to reduce hostilities.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry issued a separate statement calling on North Korea to return to talks to make progress on its previous commitment to achieving denuclearization and peace in the Korean Peninsula. After an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, council members in South Korea said they would continue to analyze the strategic importance of North Korean weapons systems announced on Saturday and review South Korea's defense capabilities.
Relations between Korea remain tense amid the deadlocked nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington.
During a speech at the military parade, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned that he would fully mobilize his nuclear forces if threatened, but avoided direct criticism of Washington.
The fact that Kim is maintaining his self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing shows that he wants to keep alive the chances of diplomacy with the US. However, some experts say he will run a major weapons test at some point after the November US presidential election to increase his leverage in potential new negotiations with the US winning the election.
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