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United States warns North Korea against new missile test, plays down talks

03 January 2018

Haley told reporters the United States was hearing reports that North Korea might be preparing to fire another missile.

Moreover, the United States will initiate additional measures against Pyongyang If DPRK conducts another ballistic missile test, US Envoy to the UN warned during a press briefing on Tuesday.

"We must not be silent", she said.

"But in pursuing those things, Moon can not succumb to North Korean nuclear blackmail to weaken the South's military alliance with the United States - in the very same New Year's speech, Kim claimed to be able to hit the USA with a nuclear weapon".

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But there was a clear gap between Haley's remarks and the willingness of the Seoul government expressed earlier on Tuesday to hold talks with the North "at any time and place, and in any form".

"In these first days of 2018, nowhere is the urgency of peace, security and freedom being more tested than in Iran", she said. Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea.

Washington has spearheaded the global push to sanction North Korea at the United Nations, which past year slapped three rafts of economic sanctions on the regime, targeting its oil, coal, iron, fisheries and textile sectors.

"The civilized world must remain united and vigilant against the rogue state's development of a nuclear arsenal", Haley said.

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Should the talks be held on January 9, it would be the first such dialogue since a vice-ministerial meeting in December 2015.

China, which has persistently urged a return to talks to ease tensions, said recent positive comments from North and South Korea were a good thing.

The year ended without any further clarity on the path to such dialogue - whether a simple pause in missile and nuclear testing would be sufficient, or whether the U.S. would require additional preconditions. "They wanted to see the embassy moved to Jerusalem, and we followed through with that".

The offer landed after a New Year's Day speech by Kim who said he was "open to dialogue" with Seoul, and for North Korean athletes to possibly take part in the Winter Games, but he persistently declared North Korea a nuclear power.

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"China welcomes and supports North Korea and South Korea taking earnest efforts to treat this as an opportunity to improve mutual relations, promote the alleviation of the situation on the Korean peninsula and realize denuclearisation on the peninsula", Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

United States warns North Korea against new missile test, plays down talks