North Korea denounces 'psychotic' European Union for rights sanctions

A projectile is launched during a long-range artillery drill by the North Korean army's long-range artillery sub-units

North Korea conducted a short-range missile test over the weekend, the first such launch since President Biden's inauguration two months ago.

The North has so far ignored the Biden's administration's efforts to reach out, saying it won't engage in meaningful talks with the United States unless Washington abandons what Pyongyang sees as "hostile" policies, which clearly refers to the US -led sanctions and pressure over its nuclear program.

Both Mr Blinken and Mr Austin have since left the region but the North Korean missile test still raises questions about how the Biden administration will choose to respond publicly.

"We've learned nothing much has changed", Biden told reporters before boarding Air Force One en route to Washington from Columbus, Ohio, where he was making a visit to promote the American Rescue Plan. (AP) North Korea has conducted its first weapons test since the Biden administration was sworn in.

South Korea's joint chiefs of staff said they appeared to be cruise missiles and were fired over the Yellow Sea, known as the West Sea in Korea - so towards China, rather than U.S. ally Japan.

The Washington Post was first to report the launch.

Analysts said the initial silence of South and North Korea, as well as the United States, on the missile launches was different from past behavior and possibly a good sign.

"We're also aware of military activity last weekend by DPRK that is not sanctioned under UN Security Council resolutions, restricting the ballistic missile program", a senior administration official said in a telephonic press briefing.

The launches came just days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Japan and South Korea to discuss their alliance and security issues in the region, with nuclear-armed North Korea seen as a central threat.

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"And we believe that that such diplomacy in close coordination with South Korea and Japan, and frankly with China is in the best interest of all those concerned", the official said.

"North Korea traditionally has done some kind of strongly provocative action early in both US and South Korean new administrations", Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation told CNN last week, pointing to tests conducted in 2017, shortly after former President Donald Trump took office, and in 2009, to mark former President Barack Obama's arrival in the White House.

But the official added that Pyongyang can not expect concessions - such as cutting back on bilateral military exercises - from Biden. Still, the country has refrained from nuclear tests, as well as intercontinental ballistic missile tests, since Kim's first summit with Trump.

State Department spokesman Ned Price has said the Biden administration wants to adopt a "new approach" to North Korea but offered little in the way of details. In 2017, Pyongyang carried out a number of tests of intercontinental missiles and other violations of United Nations resolutions.

The Biden administration's North Korea review has included conversations with Trump administration officials about their diplomatic efforts.

"We are under no illusions about the difficulty this task presents to us", the official said.

"If that's what this is, it's a pretty mild response to a US-ROK military drill", he said, referring to the Republic of Korea. We've tried it at the highest levels of the head of state. "The situation is also more challenging in Northeast Asia".

This shows China prefers diplomacy over a revival of tensions in the Korean Peninsula, and despite its friction with the United States, could still endorse a resumption of talks between Washington and Pyongyang, he said.

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