News World N.Korea's launches more short-range missiles, clouding prospects for talks

N.Korea’s launches more short-range missiles, clouding prospects for talks

North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast on Saturday, the South Korean military said, the latest in a series of launches in recent weeks amid stalled denuclearisation talks.

Saturday’s launch was the seventh by North Korea since U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at the inter-Korean border in June. The launches have complicated attempts to restart talks between U.S. and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

The two leaders agreed in June to restart working-level negotiations but the United States has so far been unsuccessful in its attempts to get the talks going again. The process has been stalled since an unsuccessful second summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi in February.

Trump said earlier this month Kim told him he was ready to resume talks on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes and would stop missile testing as soon as U.S.-South Korea military exercises ended.

However, while the joint military drills are over, North Korea’s continued launches caused “strong concern”, South Korea’s National Security Council (NSC) said on Saturday.

Trump said after the latest launches the United States has a good relationship with North Korea. “Kim Jong Un has been … pretty straight with me,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

North Korea has repeatedly criticised the mostly computer- simulated drills in recent weeks, as well as South Korea’s import of high-tech weapons such as F-35 stealth jets and the U.S. testing of its intermediate-range cruise missile as threatening and hindering dialogue.

North Korea’s top diplomat called U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “diehard toxin” on Friday, saying: “We are ready for both dialogue and standoff.”

Those remarks came after U.S. envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun was in Seoul this week to discuss ways to get negotiations back on track.

The North kept up its harsh criticism of sanctions imposed because of its nuclear and missile programmes.

“The U.S. should clearly understand that we do not have a lingering attachment on sanctions relief and that we will never barter the strategic security of the country for the sanctions relief,” a commentary on North Korean state media KCNA said on Saturday.

JAPAN LODGES PROTEST

South Korea’s NSC called for North Korea to stop escalating military tensions and agreed to make diplomatic efforts to bring it to the negotiating table with the United States as soon as possible, South Korea’s presidential office said in a statement.

A senior U.S. administration official said: “We are aware of reports of a missile launch from North Korea and continue to monitor the situation. We are consulting closely with our Japanese and South Korean allies.”

Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said North Korea’s missile launches were a clear violation of U.N. resolutions and could not be ignored. He confirmed that the latest missiles fell outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone and posed no immediate threat to Japan.

Tokyo believed the latest projectiles launched by the North were ballistic missiles and had lodged a strong protest with Pyongyang, Japan’s Jiji news agency reported.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) said North Korea had fired what appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles at around 6:45 a.m. and 7:02 a.m. KST on Saturday (2145 and 2202 GMT Friday) from around Sondok in South Hamgyong province. Sondok is the site of a North Korean military airfield.

They flew about 380 km (236 miles) and reached an altitude of about 97 km (60 miles), the JSC said, the highest of all nine North Korean launches so far this year.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two North Korean missiles appeared to be similar to launches in recent weeks.

Japan’s Coast Guard warned shipping not to approach any fallen debris.

South Korea decided to scrap an intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan this week over a long-running dispute with Tokyo about South Koreans pressed into forced wartime labour.

Asked if that affected Japan’s ability to gather and analyse information about North Korea, Iwaya said: “The agreement was until November, so we want to continue cooperation with the South Korean and American militaries.”

“So we’d like to make that offer to the South Korean side,” he said.

South Korea’s JSC said that, as the agreement with Japan had not yet expired, it would share information about the latest North Korean launch with Japan, Yonhap reported.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

UK helps employers with slow phase-in of job shield costs

British finance minister Rishi Sunak offered fresh help to employers hit by the coronavirus shutdown on Friday, announcing that future contributions they must make...

One new Covid-19 case from repatriations

There was one new Covid-19 case in Cyprus, the Health Ministry said on Friday, from a total of 2363 tests, bringing the total number...

Limassol: Dead body found in warehouse

  A body has been found in the light shaft of a warehouse on Nicos Georgiou street in Limassol, philenews reports. It said the body of...

Holy Synod to allow weddings during pre-Christmas fasting period

As a result of Covid-prompted wedding postponements, the Holy Synod has decided to allow wedding ceremonies during the pre-Christmas fasting period this year until...

President to discuss phase 3 with scientific advisors on Tuesday

  The team of scientists advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak are due to hold a new meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday...

Taste

Local cuisine: An introduction

Rich in fresh ingredients and tasty herbs, offers the very best of Mediterranean culinary delights. Head out to a tavern and feast on a...

Spiced lamb with beetroot salad and scented yoghurt

Lay the lamb on a tray, skin side down. Rub with crushed garlic, sprinkle with spices and ground pistachios, wrap in plastic wrap and...

Easy seafood pasta with white wine sauce

Ingredients: 2-3 tbsp olive oil 1 garlic clove, chopped 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream 1/3 cup white wine 300g spaghetti, roughly broken 300-400g of...

Traditional salads that will blow your mind away

This traditional salads will make you actually love salads! Cyprus may be famous for souvla and kleftiko but if you try the traditional salads with...