Korea poses one of biggest ballistic missile threats to US: CRS report

North Korea has conducted a series of short-range ballistic missile tests in the past months, followed by a test-firing of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) last week.

Five European members of the UN Security Council met on Tuesday to urge North Korea to take "concrete steps" toward giving up its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.

"North Korea is in the process of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile capability that could strike the US homeland with a nuclear warhead", it said, though adding that it is yet unclear "whether any of their ballistic missiles are armed with a nuclear warhead".

"It is a grave provocation against us to take issue with such a fair move we take under the right to defend ourselves, while not saying a single word about the US' recent Minuteman 3 ICBM launch", the statement said, adding that the US' ICBM launch was apparently aimed at pressuring the North.

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The statement came days after a breakdown of the first working-level talks between the United States and North Korea in months. A U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command statement said that such tests demonstrate the capability of the intercontinental ballistic missile system and are not a response to world events or regional tensions.

A spokesperson for the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the UN Security Council found fault with Pyongyang, but didn't say anything about a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile by Washington.

North Korea previous year suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests, partially dismantled its long-range rocket test site and dismantled its only known underground nuclear testing site.

Despite the recent tests, Pyongyang has stuck to a freeze in testing of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles that has been in place since 2017 and allowed for three meetings between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and US President Donald Trump since previous year. That summit fell apart because of Trump's rejection of Kim's demands for major sanctions relief in return for a limited denuclearization step.

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