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Analysts note the term often provokes Pyongyang, which responded in this instance with warnings of “bitter regrets”, according to reports. US Navy Vice Admiral Jon Hill made the comments during a Space and Missile Symposium yesterday, during which he discussed threats to the US.
Mr Hill said: “The rogue nations of North Korea and Iran, and then the near-peer threats of China and Russia, develop very fast and so this is a very, very complex and tough environment to live in.”
The US Department of Defence said in a summary of the meeting “adversaries” of the US had created “extremely fast and manoeuvrable advanced cruise missiles and hypersonic weapons.”
Mr Hill stressed the importance of having sensors in space to detect such missiles, though the DoD said the US’ capability in this area is “nowhere near where it needs to be”.
He said: “Where we live today is we don’t have everything we want deployed in space, nor do we have the terrestrial or mobile sea-based sensors where we want, where we need them at the right time.”
It is not the first time a US official has used such language to refer to North Korea in recent times.
US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper referred to “aggressive activities perpetrated by rogue states such as North Korea and Iran” in a statement last month.
Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, later mentioned that Mr Esper had made “hostile remarks of labelling my country as a ‘rogue state’”.
And in August 2019, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a National Convention of the American Legion: “We recognised that North Korea’s rogue behaviour could not be ignored.”
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Negotiations between the US and North Korea on dismantling the North’s nuclear programme have been stalled in recent times.
US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have met three times since 2018 to discuss the matter.
The first such meeting, which took place in Singapore that year, involved what analysts have described as a “vague” agreement to achieve North Korean denuclearisation.
However, subsequent talks appeared less successful, and the North confirmed it has test-fired a new type of ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon in 2019.
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The US has recently said it is ready to restart the talks, while South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in July he had hoped Mr Kim and Mr Trump would meet again before the US election in November.
US Deputy Secretary of State and North Korea negotiator Stephen Biegun said last month: “When Chairman Kim appoints a counterpart to me who is prepared and empowered to negotiate on these issues, they will find us ready at that very moment.”
However, Kwon Jong Gun, director general for US affairs at North Korea’s foreign ministry, said: “Explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face to face with the United States.”
There are now around three months left until the US 2020 election.
This may see Mr Trump, who had previously met the leader of North Korea to discuss denuclearisation, replaced. The current frontrunner opponent is Democrat Joe Biden.
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