'Situation on Korean Peninsula still serious'

North Korea
Moscow, May 21: The security situation on the Korean Peninsula is still serious after North Korea's recent missile launch and its defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons, South Korea has said.

"We continue to face a grave situation due to a series of provocations and nuclear threats by North Korea," said South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se at an annual conference of chiefs of overseas diplomatic missions in Seoul.

Analysts suggested that the latest missile launches were part of military drills.

Pyongyang routinely test-launches such missiles, but the latest tests followed several weeks of relative calm on the Korean Peninsula after tensions escalated earlier this year, following North Korea's test of a long-range Taepodong 2 missile in December and its third nuclear test in February, to which the UN responded with sanctions.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday he was concerned over North Korea's latest short-range missile launches and called on Pyongyang to return to six-party talks on its controversial nuclear programme.

North Korea has been subjected to several rounds of UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions since declaring itself a nuclear power in 2005.

The reclusive communist regime broke off talks with South Korea, China, the US, Japan and Russia on its nuclear programme in 2009, after the UNSC passed a resolution condemning its missile tests.


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