North Korea fires two missiles in second test in a week

North Korea fires two missiles in second test in a week

North Korea fires two missiles in second test in a week

Thursday's missile firing came after North Korea carried out a military drill and fired multiple projectiles on Saturday, with at least one believed to be a short-range missile.

South Korea's military reported that the missiles were fired from North Korea's western area.

The Yomiuri Shimbun Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told U.S. President Donald Trump during telephone talks on Monday night that he aims to realize a bilateral meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un to resolve the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea without setting any preconditions.

It also follows Pyongyang's test last week of long-range multiple rocket launchers and a short-range ballistic missile.

"Such an action serves only to increase tensions in the region", he added.

They also coincided with a visit to the South by USA special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun, who met his South Korean counterpart and was scheduled to hold talks with presidential Blue House and Unification Ministry officials.

Kim in a New Year's speech said he hopes to continue his nuclear summitry with Trump, but also that he would seek a "new way" if the United States persists with sanctions and pressure against his country.

"The debris generated by the launch in North Korea is a virtual match of a launch of Iskander conducted by Russian Federation", it said.

SEOUL - South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday that North Korea's latest missile launch was probably a subdued protest against the United States after a failed summit of the two countries' leaders in Hanoi in February.

Kim declared an end to the testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles amid a rapid rapprochement previous year, paving the way for his first summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June.

Blue House spokesperson Ko Min-jung, from the official residence of the South Korean President, said it is "very worried" about the projectile launch, saying it "does not help in improving inter-Korean relations".

With the consecutive weapons launches, North Korea is pressuring South Korea to diverge from the United States to support North Korea's position more strongly, said Du Hyeogn Cha, a visiting scholar at Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

Ahn said South Korean military officials had assessed a number of potential political motives behind the missile launches.

Washington has given no sign it will budge on the North's demand to lift some sanctions as it announced on Thursday the seizure of a North Korean cargo vessel that it said was involved in the illicit shipping of coal.

That launch was the North's first test of a ballistic missile since launching an intercontinental ballistic missile in November 2017 and sharply raising tension at a time of stalemate in its talks with the United States. "It suggests some sort of a missile launch", he said.

Longer-range ballistic missile tests, banned by the United Nations and seen as threatening by surrounding countries, would likely result in more sanctions.

North Korea's state media did not provide details of the missiles.

Wrapping up his visit to Japan, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, arrived in South Korea Wednesday afternoon to discuss North Korea, including its firing last week of projectiles from its east coast. It avoided using the words missile, rocket or projectile.

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