By Joyce Lee, Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo | Reuters
SEOUL – Japan’s Coast Guard said it detected suspected ballistic missile launches from North Korea on Saturday, while the South Korean military said North Korea had fired two projectiles into the sea off its east coast.
A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said North Korea had fired two missiles that appeared to be short-range missiles, similar to launches in recent weeks.
A series of launches by North Korea since U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at the inter-Korean border in June have complicated attempts to restart talks between U.S. and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The two leaders agreed to restart working-level negotiations in June, but since then the United States has so far been unsuccessful in attempts to get talks going.
U.S. envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun was in Seoul this week to discuss ways to get negotiations back on track.
“We are prepared to engage as soon as we hear from our counterparts in North Korea,” Biegun said on Wednesday.
But in recent weeks, North Korea has repeatedly criticized U.S. and South Korean largely computer-simulated joint military drills, South Korea’s import of high-tech weapons such as F-35 stealth jets, and U.S. testing of its intermediate-range cruise missile as threatening and hindrances to dialog.
On Friday, North Korea’s top diplomat called U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “diehard toxin,” saying “We are ready for both dialog and standoff.”
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) said North Korea fired the projectiles on Saturday morning from around Sondok, South Hamgyong Province. Sondok is the site of a North Korean military airfield.
Missiles launched by North Korea on Saturday did not land in Japanese territory or within its Exclusive Economic Zone, …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Politics