NKorea's latest launches were missiles — SKorean military

Sen. Bernie Sanders

A separate statement by a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman, also unnamed, described the weekend launches as a "routine and self-defensive military drill".

South Korea's military says North Korea has fired at least one unidentified projectile from its western area. A major missile test could result in more sanctions, and the North's so far unsuccessful push for large-scale sanctions relief is at the heart of the current diplomatic impasse with Washington.

Prior to the two recent launches, the North's last known missile test came in November 2017, when it test-fired the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, which experts believe is capable of striking much, if not all, of the continental United States.

North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling party, devoted its entire front page and half of page two to the launch on Friday, with 16 pictures, the main one of Kim watching the launch from a camouflaged shelter.

The missiles were short-range and the launches do not mean Kim has chose to end his self-imposed moratorium on testing long-range missiles that could reach the United States mainland.

He said the weapons were smaller, short-range missiles, but added: "Nobody's happy about it".

"I don't think we should get too excited about a short-range test unless someone can tell us that it was a long-range test that failed", Ganyard said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Pyongyang's latest move had "an element of protest and is a pressuring action to steer the nuclear talks in a direction it desires".

North Korea declared in April 2018 that it would discontinue nuclear tests and inter-continental ballistic missile tests.

Speaking during a special interview with public broadcaster KBS to commemorate the second anniversary of his taking office, the president said it's premature, however, to conclude whether Pyongyang violated U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibiting it from using ballistic missile technology.

The ship, in what USA officials say was a clear act of concealment, also turned off an automatic signal system meant to alert other ships of its course and location.

The United States, however, has argued that the relaxation of the economic sanctions would require North Korea to scrap all its nuclear facilities and programs, and shows no sign of reaching a compromise with Pyongyang.

Kim Jong Un's father Kim Jong Il was also a basketball fan and requested that the US invite Michael Jordan to North Korea during talks in 2000, but Jordan declined.

As with many previous missile tests, Pyongyang nearly immediately released imagery allowing for a closer look at this new missile.

"Our military has strengthened surveillance and vigilance in case of a further launch from North Korea, and has maintained a full-fledged posture in close coordination with the United States", the JCS said.

Trump then became the first ever sitting US President to meet with the leader of North Korea in his first summit with Kim in Vietnam.

The Sino-ri missile base, which is in the area where Thursday's launch happened, may have played a role in the development of the North's solid-fuel "Pukguksong-2" that it first flight tested in February 2017, according to a January study by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

According to South Korea, North Korea tested several short-range missiles on Saturday May 4. Others say North Korea won't likely fire a medium-range missile unless it intends to abandon diplomacy for good as it's certain to invite fresh United Nations sanctions.

Japan officially lists 17 citizens as abduction victims and suspects North Korea's involvement in many more disappearances.

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

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