Published: Sat, May 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

70 countries urge North Korea to scrap nuclear, ballistic weapons

70 countries urge North Korea to scrap nuclear, ballistic weapons

"Regarding the issue, we have a common understanding with the USA", the Foreign Ministry's deputy spokesperson Kim Deuk-hwan said during a press briefing Thursday.

South Korea's military said it was unclear what type of weapons were fired and was working with the United States to find out more details. The U.N. Security Council has a history of hitting Pyongyang with sanctions in response to banned tests.

North Korea has fired at least one unidentified projectile from a location in the country's northwest towards the east, South Korea's military says. Early Thursday morning, the DPRK test-fired two short-range projectiles from its Sino-ri launch site that flew a distance of 260 and 170 miles.

The leader of North Korea ordered its military to boost its strike capability as he directed another missile firing, state media said on Friday, as tensions grew over tests that appeared to show development of a new advanced missile system.

The launch comes as the United States special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, visits South Korea. "But at this point no", Trump said in an interview with Politico. "But I don't think they're ready to negotiate", he told reporters.

But Japanese defence minister Takeshi Iwaya said Friday that Tokyo had "reached the conclusion" the latest launches were short-range ballistic missiles.

"They're short-range and I don't consider that a breach of trust at all".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in warned Kim his actions risk "throwing cold water" on negotiations.

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While America remains cautious about providing the North with materials, fearing that the regime would use any aid for military purposes, Washington has confirmed that it will not stand in South Korea's way if Seoul chooses to provide food aid to the North.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have held two summits focused on the North's nuclear program but have made no discernible progress toward a deal that would eliminate its weapons.

North Korea wants widespread sanctions relief in return for disarmament steps that the United States has apparently seen as insufficient.

It was a "long-range strike" drill, the official Korean Central News Agency said, without specifying what kind of weapon was sacked and avoiding the words missile, rocket or projectile.

A report on the respected 38 North website said debris left by the launch suggested it was a "direct import" of a Russian-produced Iskander - a single-stage, solid-fuel missile.

By firing weapons that directly threaten the South but not the U.S. mainland or its Pacific territories, the North also appears to be testing how far Washington would tolerate its actions without actually causing the negotiations to collapse, said Du Hyeogn Cha, a visiting scholar at Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

Trump's comments came as the Justice Department announced on Thursday it has seized a major cargo vessel belonging to North Korea known as the Wise Honest, which officials allege violated USA and United Nations sanctions by illicitly shipping coal from North Korea.

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