UN Security Council panel split on N.Korea

The US called for additional sanctions over North Korea’s recent missile tests last week

"Such remarks from the US president are an undisguised encroachment on our state's right to self-defense and provocation to it".

The statement came after Mr. Biden criticized Pyongyang's testing of missiles on Thursday.

Commuters watch a TV showing a file image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Joe Biden during a news program at the Suseo Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday. Previous tests of the same missiles have shown they can hit USA military bases in South Korea.

"What we're seeing from Pyongyang in terms of these provocations does nothing to shake the resolve of our three countries along with allies and partners around the world to approach North Korea from a position of strength in order to diminish the threat that it poses to the region and beyond", Blinken said.

"This has little to do with what Biden said", said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.

"Pyongyang is implementing a premeditated strategy of advancing military capabilities and raising tensions", he added. Its UN mission in NY tweeted that it condemns the launch and that sanctions need to be implemented.

Biden warned the isolated state that "there will be responses if they choose to escalate", while European members of the Security Council requested an urgent meeting Tuesday to discuss the launch.

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A summit between Kim and then-U.S. president Donald Trump in Hanoi in February 2019 broke down over sanctions relief and what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in return. The tests came as a response to renewed regional military drills between the US and South Korea. -South Korean military exercises, even though they were scaled down from prior years and relied heavily on digital simulations to avoid provoking Pyongyang.

"We are committed to the denuclearization of North Korea...and improving the lives of all Koreans, including the people of North Korea who continue to suffer widespread and systematic abuses at the hands of their repressive government", Mr. Blinken told reporters during the trip.

Some experts say North Korea's recent missile launches and tough language are meant to increase pressure on the Biden administration as it's shaping its policy on North Korea.

North Korea watchers suspect, though, that Pyongyang has reason to continue weapons testing in the coming months, regardless of the results of the policy review.

"North Korea's unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs constitute serious threats to global peace and security", she told a regular news briefing.

The 2,720-tonne vessel that it is constructing is believed to be created to carry three ballistic missiles and would theoretically be capable of sailing into the Pacific to threaten United States military facilities in Hawaii or even the mainland of the continental US.

-Vivian Salama contributed to this article.

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