Monday, 19 August, 2019

Kim supervised test-firing of 'new weapon'

North Korea EU condemns N.Korea over latest missile test
Lora Ball | 12 August, 2019, 06:52

Trump also said Kim apologized for the recent flurry of short-range missile tests that has rattled USA allies in the region, ... and assured that they would cease testing when the combined exercise ends.

On Saturday, North Korea fired two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles from its eastern coast into the East Sea, the fifth such launch since July 25, reports Seoul's Yonhap News Agency. They reportedly flew over 400 kilometers, reaching an altitude of about 48 kilometers.

"In a letter to me sent by Kim Jong-un, he stated, very nicely, that he would like to meet and start negotiations as soon as the joint U.S./South Korea joint. exercise are over", Trump tweeted.

KCNA said Mr Kim expressed "great satisfaction" over the testing firings, which it said verified that the new weapon system performs as designed.

KCNA did not specify whether the weapons were ballistic missiles or rocket artillery, but said they were developed to suit the North's "terrain condition" and provide "advantageous tactical character different from existing weapons systems".

Melissa Hanham, the deputy director of the Open Nuclear Network, said the tests show that North Korea has had two short-range ballistic missiles under development this year despite diplomacy.

North Korea has long denounced the annual exercises, which it considers rehearsals for an invasion despite allied assurances that the drills are defensive in nature.

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"They had better keep in mind that this dialogue would be held strictly between (North Korea) and the U.S., not between the North and the South", it said.

North Korea's head of state reportedly personally supervised the test from a launching site.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday reiterated that joint U.S.

"They should think that an inter-Korean contact itself will be hard to be made unless they put an end to such a military exercise or before they make a plausible excuse or an explanation in a honest manner".

Kim also offered a "small apology for testing the short range missiles", the U.S. leader noted, and said the tests would end once the military drills wrap up on August 20. Trump wrote. The two leaders have met three times, in Singapore, Hanoi and at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, but critics say Trump has received few concessions in the standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons program in exchange for the meetings.

While past exercises involved extensive combat field training - with thousands of American troops coming in from several countries to take part - the current games are decidedly low-key, with the emphasis on computer-simulated scenarios.

He referred to Trump's recent comments, saying that "even the USA president made a remark which in effect recognizes the self-defensive rights of a sovereign state, saying that it is a small missile test which a lot of countries do".

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