SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea fired what seemed to be two short-range missiles on Saturday, South Korea stated, in a “show of force” towards U.S.-South Korea joint army workouts.
FILE PHOTO: North Korean chief Kim Jong Un attends a gathering with Russian President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) at Far East Federal University on Russky Island in Vladivostok, Russia, April 25, 2019. Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool through REUTERS/File Photo
More missile launches are extremely possible, because the North Korean army is conducting its personal summer time drills, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated in an announcement.
The launch got here just a few hours after U.S. President Donald Trump stated he had acquired a “very beautiful letter” from North Korean chief Kim Jong Un.
North Korea has fired a sequence of missiles and rockets since Kim and Trump agreed at a June 30 assembly to revive stalled denuclearization talks.
A U.S. official stated that not less than one projectile was launched and that it seemed to be much like earlier short-range missiles fired by Pyongyang.
Two missiles flew about 400 km (250 miles) at a top of round 48 km, in line with the South Korean army.
Trump performed down the latest North Korean weapons launches when he spoke to reporters earlier on Friday, saying: “I say it again: There have been no nuclear tests. The missile tests have all been short-range. No ballistic missile tests. No long-range missiles.”
North Korea’s state media has but to substantiate the launch, however in a commentary on Saturday it blamed the South for “building up arms against dialogue”.
“All the facts prove that the South Korean authorities are hell-bent on arms buildup against their dialogue partner,” the state-run KCNA information company stated.
“(South Korea is) the arch-criminal escalating tension in the Korean peninsula and the wrecker of its peace and stability.”
South Korea referred to as for Pyongyang to cease such launches.
The launches on Saturday had been apparently testing capabilities of a brand new short-range missile Pyongyang is creating, South Korea’s presidential workplace stated.
“Because of concerns that North Korea’s series of launches can raise military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, ministers called for North Korea to stop it,” the Blue House stated, citing a gathering of South Korea’s prime safety officers.
Kim has stated the weapons exams had been a response to U.S.-South Korean army drills being held this month.
Trump stated Kim had written in his letter that he was “not happy” concerning the battle video games and missile exams. He added he might have one other assembly with Kim.
The United States and South Korea have kicked off largely pc-simulated workouts as a substitute for earlier massive-scale annual drills that had been halted to expedite denuclearization talks.
North Korea decries such workouts as a rehearsal for battle aimed toward toppling its management.
The projectiles had been fired at daybreak on Saturday from an space across the northeastern metropolis of Hamhung, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated in an announcement.
Large stable-gas rocket engines for North Korea’s ballistic missile program are more than likely being produced at a manufacturing unit advanced in Hamhung, monitoring group 38 North stated final 12 months. Hamhung additionally has a testing website for these engines.
Kim Dong-yup, a former naval officer who teaches at Seoul’s Kyungnam University, stated the weapons examined on Saturday may very well be associated to the completion of North Korea’s new rocket artillery system that required a number of launches of the identical type.
Japan’s ministry of protection stated the projectiles didn’t pose a right away safety risk.
Reporting by Ju-min Park; further reporting by Joyce Lee and Hyonhee Shin in Seoul; Idrees Ali and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Mari Saito in Tokyo; Editing by G Crosse, Sandra Maler, Kim Coghill and Joseph Radford