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North Korea is threatening new nuclear weapons tests

An intercontinental ballistic missile is launched in North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service)
October 10, 2019

North Korea is once again eyeing nuclear weapons development, as denuclearization talks with the United States appear to have reached an impasse.

In its latest threatening remarks following a reported submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test, North Korean officials called a European rebuke of their missile tests a “serious provocation,” according to the South Korean Yonhap News Agency.

“There is a limit to the patience of the DPRK, and there is no guarantee that all our patience would continue indefinitely,” a spokesperson for the North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The North Korean spokesperson accused the U.S. of pressuring European countries to support a statement warning Pyongyang against its missile tests and urging North Korea to make efforts to build trust with officials in Washington.

The recent SLBM test raises the threat of North Korea’s ability to strike the U.S. and its allies. A submarine-borne ballistic missile could extend North Korea’s nuclear strike range, by carrying such a ballistic missile much closer to the U.S. mainland.

The missile test also comes on the heels of a round of denuclearization talks over the weekend in Stockholm, Sweden between U.S. officials and North Korean envoys, signaling little faith in the ongoing negotiations.

The North Korean side left the peace talks on Saturday, amid claims that negotiations had “broke down.”

North Korea’s top negotiator Kim Miyong Gil said the U.S. had not met North Korea’s expectations for talks and has not “discarded its old stance” towards denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Despite the claims of North Korean negotiators, U.S. officials signaled optimism on Saturday, vowing to return to Sweden for an additional round of talks in the next two weeks. North Korea has not yet appeared to accept the invitation to return to talks in Sweden.

Kim also reportedly said Pyongyang’s moratorium on nuclear and ICBM tests are now dependent Washington.

In North Korea’s latest statements, the ministry spokesperson said the DPRK is considering leaving negotiations altogether, and accused the U.S. of coming to denuclearization talks with an “empty hand.”

“The UNSC … picks fault with the just measure belonging to our right to self-defense, while keeping mum about the test-fire of Minuteman 3 ICBM recently conducted by the U.S,” the North Korean criticism continued, appearing to reference a recent U.S. ballistic missile test in the South Pacific.