U.S. condemns North Korea's ballistic missile launches as 'destabilizing'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday condemned North Korea’s ballistic missile launches this week and said the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs constituted serious threats to international peace and security.

“The United States condemns (North Korea’s) destabilizing ballistic missile launches,” a State Department spokesman said. “These launches violate multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and threaten the region and the broader international community.”

North Korea said earlier it test-fired a “newly developed new-type tactical guided projectile” on Thursday and the pair of weapons accurately hit a target 600 km (370 miles) away.

The State Department spokesman called North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs “unlawful” and said they “constitute serious threats to international peace and security and undermine the global nonproliferation regime.”

He said the U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan “remains ironclad.”

President Joe Biden said on Thursday the United States remained open to diplomacy with North Korea despite its missile tests this week, but warned there would be responses if North Korea escalates matters.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Eric Beech; Editing by Richard Pullin