Amid missile launches, North Korea yet again misses security forum

Amid missile launches, North Korea yet again misses security forum

Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, or Track 1.5 security forum, brings together officials and experts from Korean republics, US, China, Japan and Russia

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) – North Korea once again chose not to participate in a multi-lateral security forum amid fresh missile launches, triggering condemnation from South Korea and Japan.

Pyongyang did not attend the annual Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), also referred to as a Track 1.5 security forum.

The forum brings together government representatives and civilian experts from the two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia. Pyongyang last attended the meeting in 2016 and was represented by Choe Son-hui, now serving as the foreign minister.

The event was held at the University of California San Diego on Monday when North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the East Sea.

“Our military detected two ballistic missiles North Korea fired from areas near Pyongyang into the East Sea at 11:55 p.m. (1455GMT) on the 24th and at midnight of the 25th,” Yonhap News Agency quoted South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff as saying.

​​​​​​​Missile launches came after the second US nuclear-powered submarine, USS Annapolis, made a port call at a naval base on southern island of Jeju in South Korea on Monday.

Last week, it was first time that a nuclear-powered US submarine, USS Kentucky, visited Busan port in South Korea since 1981. It left South Korea on Friday.

In response, Pyongyang fired missiles twice on Wednesday and Saturday and threatened with pre-emptive strikes, triggering sharp response from Seoul, which warned of “ending the regime” in North Korea over such a move.

In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the latest missile launch by North Korea, accusing Pyongyang of violating UN Security Council resolutions. The resolutions ban North Korea from conducting ballistic missile launches.

Pyongyang’s “provocations threaten the peace and stability of Japan, the region and the international community,” said Kishida, according to Kyodo News.

Chun Young-hee, head of the Foreign Ministry's Korean Peninsula Peace Regime Bureau, said Pyongyang’s actions “threaten the international community with its ongoing nuclear and missile development.”

Addressing the NEACD forum in California, Chun stressed Pyongyang was “turning a blind eye to the dire humanitarian situation of its own people while pushing forward with its weapons programs.”

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