Thursday, 19 September, 2019

N. Korea fires more projectiles, rules out talks with South

Chart Showibng KOSPI Index S. Korea says N. Korea has fired 2 more projectiles into sea
Russell Knight | 16 August, 2019, 16:40

North Korea has reportedly launched two projectiles into sea off its eastern cost, Yonhap reported, citing South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has described the tests as a "solemn warning" to the South.

In the statement, Pyongyang also denounced South Korea's ongoing joint military exercise with the US and its mid-term defense plan where Seoul detailed its major defense projects for the 2020-2024 period, claiming that all of them "are aimed at destroying" the North.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles were fired from Tongchon in Kangwon Province.

North Korea conducted its sixth missile test in less than a month on Friday as it stepped up criticism of South Korea's president for joint military exercises with the United States and bluntly rejected his pleas for diplomacy.

It called Moon - who has long favoured dialogue with the North - an "impudent guy rare to be found", for hoping for a resumption of inter-Korean talks while continuing military drills with Washington.

In his Liberation Day speech Thursday marking Korea's independence from Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule, Moon expressed his resolve to stand resolute in the trade war but was careful to avoid a full-out confrontation, saying he was open to talks with Japan to end the dispute.

Saying that such drills are defensive in nature, Seoul and Washington said that the ongoing exercise that kicked off in earnest on Monday for a 10-day program is meant to test South Korea's operational capabilities for the conditions-based transition of wartime operational control of combined forces from Washington to Seoul.

"Such comments do not correspond to the spirit of the Panmunjom Declaration and the Pyongyang Joint Declaration agreed between the South and North Korean leaders", MOU deputy spokesperson Kim Eun-han said during a regular briefing on Friday morning.

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North Korea has said it will never negotiate with Seoul again.

"We want to clearly point out that (the comments) won't help the improvement of inter-Korean relations at all", a ministry official added.

Japan's Defense Ministry said the North Korean projectiles did not reach the country's territorial waters or its exclusive economic zone.

An official at Seoul's defence ministry said the latest test involved ballistic technology and detailed analysis was under way with the United States with the possibility that the North fired the same type of missiles it used on August 10. "It's presumed they were short-range ballistic missiles, considering the flying distance, altitude, and speed, among other things, although detailed analysis is needed", an official at the JCS said. "The military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches", said a JCS officer.

The tests come as plans to resume working-level talks between the North and Washington appear to have stalled.

The presidential Blue House urged Pyongyang to stop such actions which could heighten military tensions on the Korean peninsula.

A second summit in Hanoi in February broke up amid disagreements over sanctions relief and concessions from the North.

Yesterday, Moon set a goal for Korea's reunification by 2045.

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