North Korea Fires Projectiles Hours After Calling for Talks

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 11, 2019

North Korea fired a new round of short-range projectiles yesterday, South Korean officials said, only hours after it signalled a new willingness to resume stalled denuclearisation talks with the United States in late September.

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.

After more than a year of refraining from missile tests, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime has conducted 10 launches since May including Tuesday's.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test-firing of a "super-large multiple rocket launcher" on Tuesday, the country's state-run media reported Wednesday.

Trump and Kim had agreed to restart working-level talks during a meeting at the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean peninsula in June, but those talks have yet to begin.

Trump was asked about the offer while speaking to reporters at the White House.

There have been suggestions North Korea is shooting projectiles to pressure the USA back to the negotiating table over its controversial nuclear program, as the isolated country continues to face global sanctions that are crippling its economy.

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".

Choe warned that the U.S. needed to present a brand new approach or the dialog could crumble again.

He also said the USA administration was disappointed about the short-range missile tests but didn't consider them a deal breaker. "We are going to see what occurs". "I always say having meetings is a good thing, not a bad thing".

The launch came shortly after Pyongyang said it was willing to hold working-level talks on denuclearization later this month with the United States. The talks in Hanoi broke down over North Korea's demands for extensive sanctions relief in exchange for what the Trump administration said were insufficient steps toward denuclearization.

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. To the contrary, a United Nations report last week said the North's development of nuclear warheads has not stopped.

Little progress has been made in getting Kim to give up his weapons programs, but Trump has repeatedly pointed to North Korea's freeze in nuclear and long-range missile tests since 2017 as evidence of the success of his efforts.

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

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