Date
22 October 2019
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits a submarine factory at an undisclosed location in this picture released by Pyongyang’s state news agency on Tuesday. Credit: KCNA via Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits a submarine factory at an undisclosed location in this picture released by Pyongyang’s state news agency on Tuesday. Credit: KCNA via Reuters

North Korea fires suspected short-range missiles

North Korea fired at least two projectiles early on Thursday from its eastern coast, which Japanese government sources confirmed to Kyodo news were short-range ballistic missiles, Reuters reports.

The projectiles launched from near Wonsan flew about 430 km to the east, according to the report.

A Japanese government source told Kyodo that the missiles did not reach Japan’s exclusive economic zone and had no impact on Japan’s national security.

The firing of ballistic missiles would cast new doubts on efforts to restart denuclearization talks after US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) at the end of June, Reuters noted.

A senior US administration official said: “We are aware of reports of a short-range projectile launched from North Korea. We have no further comment.”

Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, who has taken a hardline toward North Korea, made no mention of the launches in a tweet on Thursday morning after a visit to South Korea, referring only to “productive meetings” with South Korean officials on regional security.

The US and North Korea vowed to soon hold new rounds of working-level talks, but Pyongyang has since sharply criticized upcoming joint military drills by US and South Korean troops.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said earlier this month hat Washington’s pattern of “unilaterally reneging on its commitments” by holding military exercises with South Korea was leading Pyongyang to reconsider its own commitments to discontinue tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

North Korea’s weapons testing in May included short-range missiles as well as smaller rockets. At the time, Kim oversaw the first flight of a previously untested weapon – a relatively small, fast missile that experts believe will be easier to hide, launch and maneuver in flight.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week said the State Department had “a number of conversations with the North Koreans” and he hoped the talks with North Korea would begin soon.

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CG/RC