International AffairsMilitary

North Korea fires two projectiles into Sea of Japan

North Korea fired more projectile missiles into the sea early Saturday in a likely rebuke of joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea that the North has long regarded as a dress rehearsal for invasion.

People at the Seoul Railway Station in South Korea watch a TV showing an image of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un during a rocket launch on Aug. 1, 2019.

Pentagon officials told Fox News the missiles were fired from North Korea’s east coast into the Sea of Japan. The sources would not confirm how many missiles were launched.

The launches came hours after President Trump told reporters he’d received a “beautiful” three-page letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,saying: “I say it again: There have been no nuclear tests. The missile tests have all been short-range. No ballistic missile tests. No long-range missiles.”

Kim has said the weapons tests were a response to U.S.-South Korean military drills being held this month.

Trump said Kim had written in his letter that he was “not happy” about the war games and missile tests. He added he could have another meeting with Kim.

The United States and South Korea have kicked off largely computer-simulated exercises as an alternative to previous large-scale annual drills that were halted to expedite denuclearization talks.

North Korea decries such exercises as a rehearsal for war aimed at toppling its leadership.

The projectiles were fired at dawn on Saturday from an area around the northeastern city of Hamhung, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The missile launches on Saturday were apparently testing capabilities of a new short-range missile Pyongyang is developing, South Korea’s presidential office said.

“Because of concerns that North Korea’s series of launches can raise military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, ministers called for North Korea to stop it,” the Blue House said, citing a meeting of South Korea’s top security officials.

Kim Dong-yup, a former naval officer who teaches at Seoul’s Kyungnam University, said the weapons tested on Saturday could be related to the completion of North Korea’s new rocket artillery system that required multiple launches of the same kind.

Experts say the North’s weapons display could intensify in the coming months if progress isn’t made on the nuclear talks.


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