North Korea Blames U.S. 'Imperialistic Behavior' and 'Double-dealing' for Recent Missile Launches As Nuclear Talks Falter

North Korea has hit out at the U.S. and South Korea, blaming them for the recent short-range missile tests that have undermined denuclearization and sanctions relief negotiations on the Korea peninsula.

An article in the North's official newspaper—the Rodong Sinmun—defended the country's right to continue testing weapons despite protests from regional neighbors and elements within the U.S. administration, the Yonhap news agency reported.

Pyongyang has tested seven rounds of short-range missiles since July, including one involving it's so-called "super-large" multiple rocket system on Saturday.

Despite protests from U.S. allies, President Donald Trump has dismissed the significance of such tests, suggesting the short-range nature of the missiles mean they are not of concern.

The uptick in tests came in the run-up to a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise which took place last week. The North has long complained that such drills are provocative and considers them rehearsals for a potential future invasion of the country.

"We are living in a world where imperialistic behavior to play with the sovereignty of other countries is getting more blatant than ever and not a few countries are forced to choose an abject fate because they have no power to defend themselves," the Rodong Sinmun article read.

"Today we are experiencing every day from the bottom of our heart how proud it is to work for self-reliance, while realizing how much prices we should pay as a result of submission to the stronger and dependence on outside powers," it continued.

The article also claimed the tests are a direct response to "double-dealing" by South Korea and the U.S., in which the two nations offer to speak with North Korea while also conducting major military drills simulating a conflict.

In a statement sent to Newsweek, a State Department spokesperson said, "We are prepared to engage as soon as we hear from our North Korean counterparts."

Though relations have thawed between the U.S. and North Korea over the past 18 months, Pyongyang has continued its weapons development programs.

The Rodong Sinmun said its super-large multiple rocket launcher is a "powerful force that will protect the dignity" of its people, citing it as evidence that the despotic regime can guarantee the happiness and prosperity of its people.

North Korea is also believed to have developed a new type of submarine that can hold and launch ballistic missiles while at sea. This would add a potent new prong to Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal and greatly complicate any U.S.-South Korean military plans in the event of war.

At their Singapore summit in June 2018, Kim Jong Un and Trump agreed in principle to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and work towards peace. But despite the joint declaration and two further in-person meetings, the two leaders have been unable—or unwilling—to achieve any concrete progress.

The pair agreed to resume denuclearization talks when they met at the Korean border town of Panmunjom in June, but no progress has been made since.

Trump has remained publicly positive about the North Korea question, lauding his personal relationship with Kim and congratulating himself on establishing a dialogue with the hermit state. The president appears unwilling to risk what he considers a flagship foreign policy achievement by condemning the recent launches.

But statements from U.S. administration officials have been less positive. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, for example, have both said that the North's short-range missile tests are in violation of United Nations resolutions.

On Wednesday, new Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said the U.S. wants "to understand what they're doing and why they're doing it," but stressed that the administration would not "overreact" to the recent tests.

"We want to take a measured response and make sure we don't close the door to diplomacy," he added.

This article has been updated to include a statement from the State Department.

North Korea, missile, test, launch, rocket
People watch a TV showing a file image of a North Korean missile launch at the Seoul Railway Station on August 10, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images/Getty