Published: Thu, August 01, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

SKorea says NKorea has fired unidentified projectiles

SKorea says NKorea has fired unidentified projectiles

An expert quoted by Reuters says the KN-23s are created to evade missile defense systems by flying a "low-altitude gliding and leaping" pattern.

Diplomacy between North Korea and the United States remained deadlocked since the second Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam in February ended without any agreement.

Even though North Korea is banned by the U.N. from using ballistic technology in any weapons launches, it's unlikely that the nation, already under 11 rounds of U.N. sanctions, will be hit with more punitive measures.

The North warned they could affect the resumption of denuclearisation talks.

North Korea has reportedly tested more missiles in the Sea of Japan.

"Treasury continues to enforce existing sanctions against those who violate United Nations Security Council resolutions ... and evade US sanctions on North Korea's unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs", the agency added.

That missile - known as the KN-23 - was also tested twice in May. A third, brief Trump-Kim meeting in June raised hopes for formal working-level discussions to resume, but North Korea has so far not restarted these meetings.

North Korea's exports to China, its main market, dropped almost 90 per cent previous year, according to data from Beijing, and a recent report by the Korea Development Institute said sanctions had put the country on a path for economic crisis.

Pompeo and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho had been expected to meet on the sidelines of a Southeast Asia security forum in Bangkok this week, but Ri canceled his trip to the conference, a diplomatic source said. Last weekend, the North Korean state propaganda apparatus identified the missiles launched last Thursday as a "new-type tactical guided weapon" necessary given the "annoying situation" with South Korea.

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It said both missiles were believed to have flown about 250km (155 miles) at a maximum altitude of 30km (19 miles) and that South Korean and United States militaries were trying to find more details of the launches.

On Wednesday, North Korea fired two, new short-range ballistic missiles.

"These missiles represent technological developments that threaten USA allies and forces in Asia", he said. Past sanctions were imposed only when the North conducted long-range ballistic launches.

Other analysts have said North Korea will be emboldened to press more aggressively for USA concessions by Trump's apparent eagerness to hold up his engagement with Pyongyang as a foreign policy success ahead of his 2020 reelection bid.

Pyongyang will carry out more launches before the drills begin in August and again afterwards, he predicted.

Wednesday's tests come after Kim and US President Donald Trump held a historic meeting on the inter-Korean border on June 30 and made a decision to renew their talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Projectiles launched early Wednesday by North Korea have not reached Japan's territorial waters or its exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan, Kyodo news agency reported.

Pompeo is set to arrive in Bangkok on Thursday for an ASEAN regional forum, with US point man on North Korea Stephen Biegun as part of his entourage.

While Trump and Kim's DMZ meeting sparked a flicker of hope, with the promise of working-level meetings, those haven't materialized, and there's concern they may never.

Pyongyang's state media said that drill was intended for the country's western "frontline defenders" to demonstrate their ability to carry out "combat missions".

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