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DPRK fires two more projectiles

China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-11 07:39

Tuesday morning's test marks Pyongyang's 10th round this year

SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea fired a new round of short-range projectiles on Tuesday, multiple media reports said, hours after it signaled a new willingness to resume stalled denuclearization talks with the United States.

According to the Republic of Korea's Yonhap News Agency, the launches were detected early in the morning by the ROK military, which said they appeared to be short-range projectiles.

The projectiles were fired in an easterly direction at 6:53 am and 7:12 am local time from areas in the DPRK's city of Kaechon, about 80 kilometers north of the capital, Pyongyang, ROK's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

In response to the latest launches, the ROK held an emergency National Security Council meeting, in which the council expressed "strong concern" about the latest launch.

"We urge Pyongyang to stop such acts that escalate tensions in the region," the council said in a statement.

Tuesday's test marked the DPRK's 10th round of projectile launches this year. They included short-range missiles and other advanced rocket systems.

The launches came hours after the DPRK Vice-Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said in a statement carried by the government's KCNA agency on late Monday that Pyongyang was willing to resume dialogues with Washington in September.

"We have willingness to sit with the US side for comprehensive discussions of the issues of mutual concern at the time and place to be agreed late in September," Choe said, adding: "I believe that the US side will come out with a new proposal geared to the interests of the DPRK and the US and based on the calculation method acceptable to us."

US President Donald Trump later told reporters that he had seen the statement but stopped short of giving a definite answer, according to The Associated Press.

Asked about the proposal for holding talks in September, Trump said: "I have a very good relationship with Chairman Kim. I always say having meetings is a good thing. We'll see what happens."

Pyongyang's latest comments on talks also come after the US special envoy to the DPRK, Stephen Biegun, said the DPRK must stop blocking nuclear talks. "North Korea (the DPRK) must set aside its search for obstacles to negotiations and instead seek the opportunities for engagement while that opportunity lasts," Biegun said.

Gridlocked negotiations

Negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been gridlocked since a second summit between the DPRK's top leader Kim Jong-un and Trump in February ended without a deal.

Kim and Trump had agreed to restart working-level dialogue during an impromptu meeting at the Demilitarized Zone in the Korean border village of Panmunjom in June, but no talks followed.

Mintaro Oba, a former Korean Peninsula expert at the US State Department, said the DPRK's recent short-range tests may put a different sort of pressure on Washington by raising "tensions in a way that creates a heightened sense of urgency," AP cites him as saying.

Reuters said that many of the latest missiles launched by the DPRK appear to be new types of weapons designed to evade interception by the US, ROK and Japanese missile defense systems.

But a Japanese defense ministry official said on Tuesday there was no confirmation of any ballistic missile entering Japan's territory or exclusive economic zone and that there was no immediate threat to national security.


(China Daily 09/11/2019 page11)

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