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N. Korea must be held accountable despite failure to launch spy satellite: Kirby

June 1, 2023 - 10:01 By Yonhap
John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, is seen answering questions during a daily press briefing at the White House in Washington on Wednesday. (White House)

WASHINGTON -- North Korea must be held accountable for its failed attempt to launch a military spy satellite, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council said Wednesday.

John Kirby, NSC coordinator for strategic communications, added the launch posed a threat to peace in the entire region despite its failure.

"The major concern is that with each and every one of these launches, whether it fails or succeeds, Kim Jong-un and his scientists and engineers, they learn and they improve and they adapt, and they continue to develop military capabilities that are a threat not only on the (Korean) peninsula but to the region," Kirby said when asked why the North's satellite launch may have failed.

Kirby added that "is why we are going to continue to work with allies and partners on holding Kim Jong-un and his regime accountable and why we are going to do everything we can to make sure we have the proper military capabilities in the region, including training and readiness to deal with those threats."

North Korea fired a space launch vehicle early Wednesday morning (Korea time), but it fell into the Yellow Sea after what Pyongyang called an "abnormal" starting of its second-stage booster.

Kirby noted the United States and South Korea already have a mechanism in place to deal with North Korea's nuclear threat, namely the Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG), although not as a result of North Korea's botched satellite launch attempt.

"This was put in place before they decided to try this launch over the weekend," he said when asked if the North's satellite launch had kick started any elements of the NCG, which was established late last month under an agreement between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and US President Joe Biden, known as the Washington Declaration.

"That said, the (Washington) Declaration and the (Nuclear) Consultative Group was certainly established as a result of the continued provocations by the DPRK over so many, many months here, if not years, and it's a way to help improve our ability to be responsive to whatever threats there might be," said Kirby, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. (Yonhap)