S.Korea expresses “grave regret” over North’s ballistic missile launch

The South Korea’s presidential National Security Council (NSC) on Sunday expressed “grave regret” over North Korea’s launch of a “ballistic missile”, calling for Pyongyang to immediately stop acts that threaten peace on the Korean Peninsula.

National security adviser Suh Hoon presided over the NSC meeting, shortly after North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile that marked the North’s eighth show of force this year, Yonhap news agency reported.

South Korea’s military said the North’s ballistic missile flew around 300 km at an altitude of 620 km.

NSC members “expressed deep concern and grave regret over North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile today, despite the fact that South Korea and the US have made joint efforts for a diplomatic solution,” Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.

“Firing a ballistic missile at a time when the world is striving to resolve the war in Ukraine is not desirable for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, region and the world,” the NSC said.

The NSC also called for North Korea to swiftly respond to offers for dialogue by South Korea, the US and the international community, according to the statement.

The North’s latest launch came at a sensitive time for South Korea, which is set to hold a presidential election on March 9.

The NSC emphasised that it will make utmost efforts to protect security ahead of the presidential election.

In January, the North conducted seven rounds of missile tests, including an intermediate-range ballistic missile launch.

Some analysts have said North Korea could engage in more provocative actions down the road as it issued a veiled threat last month to lift its yearslong self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.

North Korea appeared to have refrained from missile tests during the recently concluded Winter Olympics in Beijing, its traditional ally and key economic supporter.

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