World calls for detente after North Korea launches projectiles

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-02 18:04:39|Editor: huaxia
Video PlayerClose

Photo provided by Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 5, 2019 shows the site of a strike drill of defense units of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). (Xinhua/KCNA)

Washington said it wanted to continue diplomatic engagement with North Korea, but urged "no more provocations."

BEIJING, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The international community has urged de-escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched several projectiles in a little over a week.

The DPRK on Friday fired two unidentified short-range projectiles off its east coast, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing the country's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

The two projectiles were fired at 2:59 a.m. (1759 GMT on Thursday) and 3:23 a.m. (1823 GMT on Thursday) from the South Hamgyong Province into the East Sea, the JCS said, adding that both projectiles flew around 220 km at an altitude of about 25 km.

It was the third launch in about a week. The DPRK fired multiple projectiles on July 25 and July 31.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service saw the DPRK's projectile launches as a protest against the planned South Korea-U.S. joint military exercise, called "Dong Maeng 19-2," scheduled for this month.

The DPRK Foreign Ministry warned on July 16 that Pyongyang might end the scheduled working-level negotiations with Washington if the planned military drills happen.

The South Korean National Security Council expressed deep concern after earlier launching activities, saying it is of no help for efforts to defuse military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Jong Un (C), top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in meet at the truce village of Panmunjom on June 30, 2019. (Xinhua/NEWSIS)

The U.S. State Department reiterated Washington's intention to continue its diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang. "We want to have diplomatic engagement with the North Koreans," spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said on July 25.

The remarks came after the DPRK's first firing of projectiles since U.S. President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's impromptu meeting in Panmunjom in June, during which the two leaders agreed on the resumption of working-level negotiation between the two sides on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

"We continue to urge the North Koreans to resolve all of the things that the President (Donald Trump) and that Chairman Kim have talked about through diplomacy," she added, urging "no more provocations."

The United Nations Security Council holds a meeting on non-proliferation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), at the UN headquarters in New York Sept. 17, 2018. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

Britain, France and Germany on Thursday said in a statement after a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council that they are concerned about the DPRK's firing of projectiles in the past few days.

China, a major party in the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, has also urged caution and said efforts should be made toward realising lasting peace in the region.

"The political settlement process of the Peninsula issue is at a critical stage. We hope all relevant parties can cherish the hard-won de-escalation, work for denuclearization on the Peninsula and achieve lasting peace on the Peninsula and in the region," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Wednesday.