The Korea Herald


US urges N. Korea to halt escalatory actions following EEZ violation accusation

By Yonhap

Published : July 11, 2023 - 09:27

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Department of State Press Secretary Matthew Miller is seen speaking during a daily press briefing at the department in Washington on Monday. (Yonhap) Department of State Press Secretary Matthew Miller is seen speaking during a daily press briefing at the department in Washington on Monday. (Yonhap)

A US state department spokesperson called on North Korea to refrain from escalatory actions on Monday, hours after North Korea accused the United States of violating North Korean airspace within their exclusive economic zone.

The department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, also reiterated that the US remains open to dialogue with Pyongyang.

"I would just say that we would urge the DPRK to refrain from escalatory actions, and again, calling it to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy," he told a press briefing when asked about the North's accusation, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"We remain committed to diplomacy and reiterate our interest in dialogue with Pyongyang without preconditions. We've made that clear on a number of occasions and, unfortunately, they have refused to engage in a meaning way," he added.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, earlier claimed that a US reconnaissance aircraft intruded into airspace within the North's EEZ on Monday (Korea time).

"We will not take a direct counteraction against the US forces' acts of espionage outside the economic water zone of the DPRK side," she said, according to a report by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

"But I repeatedly warn upon authorization that we will react with clear and resolute actions when they intrude into the economic water zone of the DPRK side beyond the military demarcation line in sea waters again," she added.

A defense department spokesperson dismissed the North's accusation as "just accusation."

"The United States, as always, remains committed to safely and responsibly flying, sailing, operating anywhere that international law allows and alongside our allies and partners," deputy spokesperson Sabrina Singh was quoted as saying when asked about Kim Yo-jong's remarks.

"Again, we always operate responsibly and safely and in accordance with international law, so those accusations are just accusations," she reiterated when asked if a US aircraft had in fact entered North Korean airspace.

Miller stressed that China could play a role in reining in North Korea's escalatory behavior.

"I will say this is an issue that came up in our conversations in Beijing when the secretary traveled to Beijing, meet with Chinese government officials," he said of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's recent trip to China when asked about China's role in dealing with North Korea.

"And we continue to believe that China can play a role if it chooses to in helping convince the DPRK to take de-escalatory actions, and we will continue to urge them to do so," added Miller. (Yonhap)