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North Korea conducts first weapons test of Biden's presidency

  发表于 Mar 24, 2021 14:21:46 来自手机 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
North Korea has carried out its first weapons test since President Joe Biden took office, according to three US officials, launching two projectiles last weekend in a move senior administration officials downplayed as falling "on the low end of the spectrum" of provocative actions the regime could carry out.

The test had been widely expected, as officials and experts have long anticipated that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would attempt to send a message to the Biden administration about the country's importance in the region.

One US official told CNN that North Korea had launched short-range projectiles, possibly artillery or cruise missiles, not ballistic missiles -- a key distinction that underscores the Biden administration's view that it does not qualify as a serious breach and will not prevent the US from pursuing diplomacy with Pyongyang.

`"We do not see the activity that took place this weekend as closing that door," a senior official said Tuesday, referring to future attempts at diplomacy.

Biden, asked Tuesday what he'd learned about the test, told reporters before he boarded Air Force One in Ohio, "We have learned that there's nothing much that's changed."

While senior administration officials downplayed the seriousness of North Korea's actions, they reiterated that US forces in the region are always prepared and on high alert.

"It would be hard to find a place on the planet where there is more vigilance than the circumstance and situation surrounding North Korea. Our forces are always prepared, always on high alert," one senior official said.

"It is common for North Korea to test various systems ... we do not publicly respond to every kind of test," the senior administration official added. "This is a system that is not covered by UN Security Council resolutions. It is a normal part of the kind of testing North Korea would do. We do not believe it is in our best interest to hype these things in circumstances in which we would consider those activities as part of a 'normal' set of a tense military environment like we see on the Korean Peninsula."

News of the weapons test comes as North Korea has been relatively quiet since the weekend, refraining from touting its military prowess or ability to stand up to the United States, leaving officials wondering about the intent behind the launch.

South Korea and Japan, America's regional allies, were similarly quiet.

South Korea's military detected the launch of two cruise missiles on Sunday morning, the Ministry of Defense later said in a text to reporters.

"Our military was monitoring missiles in real time in cooperation with the US, and detected (the missiles)," the ministry said. It said it is analyzing the specifics of the missiles.

A South Korean lawmaker, Ha Tae-keung, said in a Facebook post that the authorities decided not to announce the launch as they have done in the past.

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