Published: Fri, August 02, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

South Korea drills still on despite Pyongyang warnings


North Korea launched two missiles Thursday of last week, then followed it up with the firing of two more missiles from its eastern coast on Wednesday, according to the South's military.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday that the weapons it then assessed as missiles flew about 250 kilometres (155 miles) at an apogee of 30 kilometres (19 miles), a range that would be enough to cover the metropolitan area surrounding capital Seoul and a major US military base just south of the city.

The JCS says he made clear he wanted to defect.

KCNA said Kim expressed satisfaction over the test firings and said the newly developed rocket system would create an "inescapable distress to the forces becoming a fat target of the weapon".

The report didn't directly mention the United States or South Korea, but experts say the rocket system, along with new short-range missiles the North tested last week, could potentially pose a serious threat to South Korea's defense.

The UN Security Council is expected to discuss the latest launches during a closed-door meeting Thursday.

The Trump administration has played down the latest North Korean saber-rattling. USA officials say Kim has also promised Trump not to conduct longer range missile launches or nuclear tests.

Kim's new round of testing will worry their neighbours South Korea, but the USA have claimed Donald Trump's administration continues to have a good relationship with Pyongyang.

The developments have cast doubts over a June 30 agreement between Kim and President Donald Trump to renew working-level talks on denuclearization.

Bolton told Fox Business Network the US side was still waiting to hear from North Korea about arranging the talks. -South Korea joint military exercises this month. "It's going to mean some expensive upgrades to track these new missiles better, or the US will have to use space based infrared and pass information very quickly to South Korea", says Melissa Hanham, a weapons expert with the Open Nuclear Network.

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They were thought to be fishermen who may have wanted to defect, but in the end they chose to return to North Korea.

The missiles fired last week travelled much farther - one of them going almost 700 kilometres - than Wednesday's, and also reached a higher altitude, 50 kilometres compared to 30. The North also tested short-range missiles on May 4 and 9.

FILE - People watch a TV showing a file image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, July 31, 2019.

Earlier last week, Kim visited a newly built submarine and expressed his satisfaction with its weapons system.

Pompeo and the top U.S. North Korea negotiator are attending an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in the Thai capital this week, and Pompeo said on Tuesday he was holding out hope that U.S. officials could meet North Korean counterparts there.

A spiralling row over the past month is threatening to disrupt the global supply of semiconductors and undercut security cooperation on North Korea.

"No particular North Korean military movement is seen across the border", it continued. If confirmed, it would be North Korea's first operational submarine with missile launch tubes, some experts said.

The DMZ meeting was the third summit between Trump and Kim.

Contact between the North and South has been minimal since February, when a second summit between the United States and Pyongyang collapsed without an agreement over possible denuclearisation and sanctions relief.

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