North Korea fires projectiles, reject South Korea’s dialogue

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North Korea has launched at least two projectiles into the sea on Friday, South Korea’s military said, shortly after Pyongyang described South Korea’s president as “impudent” and vowed that inter-Korean talks are over.

The North has protested against joint military drills conducted by South Korea and the United States, which kicked off last week, calling them a rehearsal for war. It has also fired several short-range missiles in recent weeks.

North Korea fired two more unidentified projectiles into the sea off its east coast on Friday morning, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.

Japan’s defence ministry said it did not see any imminent security threat from the latest projectile launch.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said initiate restrictions would be lifted in the “next few days,” the government lawyer, Tushar Mehta, said.

Information indicated at least one projectile was fired by North Korea and appeared to be similar to the short-range missiles fired in previous weeks. Another official said the United States was consulting with South Korea and Japan.

The “unidentified projectiles” were launched shortly after 8 a.m. Friday (2300 GMT Thursday) and flew around 230 kms (142 miles) to an altitude of 30 kms (18 miles), South Korea’s JCS reported.

The launches 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.

Those denuclearization talks have been stalled despite a commitment to revive them made at a June 30 meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong UN.

Earlier on Friday, Pyongyang rejected a vow by South Korean President Moon Jae-in a day earlier to pursue talks with the North and to unify the two Koreas by 2045.

The loss of dialogue momentum between the North and South and the stalemate in implementing pledges made at an historic summit between their two leaders last year was entirely the responsibility of the South, a North Korean spokesman said.

The unidentified spokesman repeated criticism that the joint U.S.-South Korea drills were a sign of Seoul’s hostility toward the North.

“We have nothing to talk any more with the South Korean authorities nor have any idea to sit with them again,” the North’s spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The committee manages relationships with the South. The rival Koreas are technically still at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a truce rather than a peace treaty.

 

Zainab Sa’id