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North Korea's missile tests not 'breach of trust'

North Korea's missile tests not 'breach of trust'

The United States and South Korean militaries evaluated the two projectiles North Korea flew Thursday as short-range missiles, a South Korean military official said yesterday, after the North's second launch in five days raised jitters about an unravelling detente between the Koreas and the future of nuclear negotiations with Washington.

The missile launch is likely to be a protest against the USA for refusing to ease sanctions at the failed Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un in February.

Pyongyang fired two short-range missiles Thursday following an earlier drill on Saturday.

In an extensive interview on Friday, Trump briefly touched on his take on North Korea's increased missile activity.

Trump has previously held up a freeze in missile testing since 2017 as a sign of progress in his talks with North Korea after exchanges of fiery rhetoric two years ago raised fears of war.

"At around 4.29 p.m and 4.49 p.m today, North Korea fired unidentified projectiles in the eastern direction from Sino-ri, North Pyongan province", South Korea's Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) said in a statement, Washington Post reported.

On Friday at the United Nations, 70 countries urged North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and related programs, decrying the "undiminished threat" posed to world peace.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered his military to boost its strike capability. "(But) if South Korea moves forward on that front, we're not going to intervene". He said the new launches could only worsen the growing tensions. "It is threatening to raise regional tensions and create political problems for Moon and Trump if not offered economic concessions it failed to win in Hanoi".

As if on cue, the US Navy fired an unarmed Trident missile from the submarine USS Rhode Island just hours later.

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Previously, Seoul's plan to give $8 million to the World Food Program and UNICEF, and to send 200,000 doses of flu medication Tamiflu to North Korea had been impeded by the United States, though humanitarian aid is not subject to sanctions. He has met with Kim at two summits but said yesterday: "I don't think they're ready to negotiate".

North Korea lashed out at the United States and South Korea this week, saying last weekend's launches were "regular and self-defensive".

Linda Frost, Deputy, Media Operations of the Air Force Global Strike Command, told Fox News that the close timing of the USA and North Korean tests were not related.

North Korea and the United States are now deadlocked in diplomacy meant to rid the North of its nuclear arsenal.

This was the first missile test since it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in November 2017.

Kim has said he is open to a third meeting with Trump, but only if Washington offers mutually acceptable terms for an agreement by the end of the year.

Experts have estimated the size of North Korea's nuclear arsenal at anywhere between 20 and 60 warheads.

Mr Kim declared an end to the testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles during rapid rapprochement a year ago.


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