Published: Fri, August 16, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

North Korea fires projectiles, rejects South Korea's dialogue pledge

North Korea fires projectiles, rejects South Korea's dialogue pledge

The North Korean military launched two unidentified projectiles in the East China Sea.

Pyongyang recently said nuclear talks would be "strictly" between the North and the United States, refusing to hold separate dialogue with the South, having accused Seoul of posing as a "meddlesome mediator" following the collapse of the Hanoi summit. -South Korea military drills taking place this month - drills the North claims are a rehearsal for invasion.

"We would like to stress that not only do such statements run counter to the spirit of agreements reached by the leaders of North and South - the Panmunjom and Pyongyang joint declarations - but also do not contribute to developing inter-Korean relations", the deputy spokesperson said at a briefing. They flew about 143 miles and reached an altitude of almost 20 miles at a speed of Mach 6.9 - more than 5,000 mph - before landing in the sea off the country's eastern coast, a JCS official told reporters.

The launches have complicated attempts to restart talks between US and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

The president said last Friday he received a "beautiful letter" with "a small apology" for the recent avalanche of tests from North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

The South's presidential office responded by convening an emergency security meeting, with local news agency Yonhap reporting that participating officials called on the North to end its recent series of launches or risk raising military tensions after more than a year of relative peace and dialogue.

US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have met twice since their first summit in Singapore previous year and said their countries would continue talks.

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The Defense Ministry in Tokyo said the projectiles did not land on Japanese territory or inside the country's exclusive economic zone and thus did not directly affect its security.

This month's exercise follows a lengthy stalemate over the North's proposed denuclearization, but Trump also demonstrated tolerance for Pyongyang's short-range missile tests.

A senior Trump administration official told The Japan Times that the USA was "aware of reports" of the launches and was continuing to monitor the situation.

Mr. Kim's promise not to conduct nuclear bomb or ballistic missile tests, meanwhile, came during the first Trump-Kim summit, which was held in Singapore in June 2018. The ministry later issued a stronger response when one official said the CPRC statement was "a rude act that crossed the line".

"We have nothing to talk any more with the South Korean authorities nor have any idea to sit with them again", it added.

"In order to improve inter-Korean relations and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula, South and North Korea should make efforts to keep what should be kept on the basis of mutual respect", the official said. Washington and Seoul insisted that drills, the latest of which began on Monday, were purely defensive in nature.

It was "senseless" to think that inter-Korean dialogue would resume once the military drills with the United States were over, he said.

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