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North Korea says U.S. is overreacting to latest missile test, casts doubt on talks

Click to play video: 'White House condemns North Korea missile launch' White House condemns North Korea missile launch
WATCH: White House condemns North Korea missile launch – Oct 19, 2021

North Korea said on Thursday the United States was overreacting to its recent missile test and questioned the sincerity of Washington’s offers of talks, accusing it of operating “double standards” over weapons development.

Pyongyang has said in recent weeks that its weapons tests are aimed at boosting its defense capabilities just as other countries do, accusing the United States, South Korea and the United Nations of adopting a hostile policy and “double standards” towards it.

This week’s test of a new ballistic missile from a submarine was North Korea’s normal activity to carry out its mid- and long-term defense plan and was not aimed at the United States or any other country, an unnamed spokesperson at Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said, according to the official KCNA news agency.

Read more: North Korea fires another ballistic missile as it continues weapons tests

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The spokesperson said Washington had nonetheless taken “very provocative moves” by calling for a gathering of the U.N. Security Council. The Security Council met on Wednesday following a request from the United States.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, urged Pyongyang to comply with U.N. sanctions banning nuclear and missile tests and accept offers of talks, reiterating that Washington has no hostile intent toward it.

“It is time to engage in sustained and substantive dialog toward the goal of complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” she told reporters, adding the United States has offered to meet “without any preconditions.”

Click to play video: 'Japan, China express concern following North Korea ballistic missile launch' Japan, China express concern following North Korea ballistic missile launch
Japan, China express concern following North Korea ballistic missile launch – Oct 19, 2021

The North’s foreign ministry spokesperson said the United States’ “double standards” over missile development cast doubt over its overtures.

“To criticize the DPRK for developing and test-firing the same weapon system as the one the U.S. possesses or is developing is a clear expression of double standards,” the spokesperson said in a statement carried by KCNA, using the acronym for the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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“It only excites our suspicion about the ‘authenticity’ of its statement that it does not (want to) antagonize the DPRK.”

Any wrong behavior by the United States and the council could lead to “more serious consequences,” the spokesperson said, warning against “tampering with a dangerous time bomb.”

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Richard Pullin & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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