U.S. condemns N. Korean missile launch, vows to take all necessary steps

WASHINGTON-- The United States on Thursday condemned North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), vowing to take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the country and its allies.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also said the path to diplomacy was still open but that the North must immediately stop its destabilizing actions.

"The United States strongly condemns the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for its test of a long-range ballistic missile," Psaki said in a released statement, referring to North Korea by its official name.

North Korea fired an ICBM toward the East Sea on Thursday (Seoul time), ending its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing that has been in place since late 2017.

The U.S. earlier said the North may launch an ICBM, noting its two recent missile tests on February 27 and March 5 (Seoul time) had involved a new ICBM system.

"This launch is a brazen violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and needlessly raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region," she said. "This action demonstrates that the DPRK continues to prioritize its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs over the well-being of its people."

She added the U.S. was working in close coordination with its allies to assess the situation.

"We urge all countries to hold the DPRK accountable for such violations and call on the DPRK to come to the table for serious negotiations," she said.

The White House spokesperson also urged Pyongyang to engage in dialogue.

"The door has not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its destabilizing actions. The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland and Republic of Korea and Japanese allies," the released statement said.

North Korea remains unresponsive to U.S. overtures. It has avoided denuclearization talks since late 2019.

Source: Yonhap News Agency