Saturday, 21 September, 2019

North Korea launches more short-range missiles, complicates US attempts for talks

North Korea fires two suspected missiles after branding Pompeo a 'toxin' North Korea fires projectiles off east coast​ today, South Korea says
Deanna Wagner | 24 August, 2019, 07:21

Pyongyang was expected to halt missile tests after joint exercises between the US and South Korea came to an end.

Officials of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff say that projectiles launched by the North early Saturday morning appear to have been short-range ballistic missiles.

The North had been expected to halt weapons tests because the 10-day US-South Korean drills, which it views as an invasion rehearsal, ended earlier this week.

Saturday's launch, the seventh by North Korea since U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at the inter-Korean border in June, have complicated attempts to restart talks between U.S. and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Earlier this week, Stephen Biegun, the United States special envoy for North Korea, said during a visit to Seoul that the USA was "prepared to engage" as soon as it hears from Pyongyang. They flew about 380 kilometers (236 miles) at the maximum altitude of 97 kilometers (60 miles), the military said.

Pyongyang fires a new weapon, part of its missile testing into its eastern coast. It called for North Korea to stop escalating military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. "We are consulting closely with our Japanese and South Korean allies".

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"He is truly impudent enough to utter such thoughtless words which only leave us disappointed and sceptical as to whether we can solve any problem with such a guy", said North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong-hoRi, in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The foreign minister expressed anger at Pompeo's threat to maintain sanctions on North Korea if it doesn't denuclearize on its own.

South Korea's presidential office said it'll hold an unscheduled meeting to discuss the North Korean launches.

"Timing this when Japan-South Korea ties are at their worst in decades, and just after Seoul pulled out of GSOMIA with Japan, would be all-to-predictably be right in the playbook of the Kim regime", said J. Berkshire Miller, deputy director at the MacDonald Laurier Institute and a senior fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs.

And according to Tokyo-based Kyodo News and NHK, Japan's defense ministry confirmed Pyeongyang fired multiple ballistic missiles into the East Sea, but they did not reach Japan's territorial waters or its exclusive economic zone.