Friday, 15 November, 2019

North Korea Fires Projectiles Hours After Calling for Talks

North Korea: Pyongyang Conducts 10th Weapons Test of 2019 North Korea says it's willing to talk with US, and launches projectile
Patty Aguilar | 11 September, 2019, 04:28

In another show of force, North Korea shot two unknown projectiles into the sea Tuesday, just hours after it offered to restart nuclear negotiations with the United States.

The projectiles were launched in an easterly direction from an inland area in the South Pyongan Province, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said without providing further details, such as the type of the projectiles, flight range and maximum altitude.

Although US President Donald Trump has played down previous tests this year, saying he did not believe short-range missiles violated any agreements, now-ousted national security adviser John Bolton had said even short-range launches by North Korea are banned under United Nations resolutions.

Although Chairman Kim and Trump have enjoyed a friendly relationship, the North Korean government has not been so fond of other US negotiators, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed in a June 30 meeting with US President Donald Trump to reopen working-level talks stalled since their failed February summit in Hanoi, but this has yet to happen in spite of repeated appeals from Washington.

But while the KCNA report said "two rounds of test-fire took place" - a claim in line with the South Korean military's assessment - some analysts questioned this assertion, with photos accompanying the report suggesting a third missile may have also been launched.

The comments came a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed hope that talks with the North Koreans would resume "in the coming days, or perhaps weeks".

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She warned that "if the U.S. side fingers again the worn-out scenario which has nothing to do with new decision methods at the DPRK-U.S. working negotiation to be held with so much effort, the DPRK-U.S. dealings may come to an end".

When asked by AFP about the most current North Korean supply, a Condition Division official replied: "We never have any conferences to announce at this time".

Kim and US President Donald Trump adopted a vaguely-worded statement on the "complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula" at their first summit in Singapore in June past year, but little progress has since been made on dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear program. "We give him our best wisdom, we share with him our understanding ... but I don't think that any leader around the world should make any assumption that because some one of us departs that President Trump's foreign policy will change in a material way", Pompeo said.

Pyongyang's hottest feedback on talks appear after the U.S. distinctive envoy to North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said the North have to quit blocking nuclear talks.

Hours before the latest firing of projectiles, however, a senior North Korean diplomat suddenly extended an olive branch, saying Pyongyang is ready to talk with the United States later this month.

Analysts say the short-range missiles being tested threaten United States troops deployed in northeast Asia and citizens living in US-allied countries like South Korea and Japan. North Korea has further conducted at least eight tests since then, usually with multiple missiles each time.

"It is meant to send a message to the USA that....it can go further next year during the presidential race", says the analyst Kim.

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