This picture taken on May 4, 2019 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 5, 2019 shows rocket launchers firing during a test of weapons in an undisclosed location in North Korea. North Korea has tested long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons in a "strike drill" overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, state media said.
AFP/KCNA via KNS
North Korea fires projectiles: South's military
(Agence France-Presse) - May 9, 2019 - 4:44pm

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired a number of unidentified projectiles Thursday, the South's military said, as a US envoy visited Seoul for discussions on how to break the nuclear deadlock.

"North Korea fired unidentified projectiles eastward" from Sino-ri in North Pyongan province, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The launch came just days after North Korea carried out a military drill and fired multiple projectiles, with at least one believed to be a short-range missile.

It was also hours after the US Special Representative on North Korea, Stephen Biegun, arrived in Seoul late Wednesday for talks with South Korean officials on the allies' approach towards Pyongyang.

It is Biegun's first visit to Seoul since the Hanoi summit between US President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un collapsed without agreement.

"We are still analysing whether it is a single or multiple projectiles," JCS spokesman Kim Joon-rak told AFP.

Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington have refrained from calling Saturday's launch a missile, which could jeopardise the ongoing diplomacy by violating UN Security Council resolutions as well as Kim's promise of a freeze on long-range missile tests.

The North has said Saturday's drill involved multiple Pyongyang "long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons".

But experts say the North launched at least one short-range missile during the exercise, with a report on the respected 38 North website suggesting that it was a "direct import" of a Russian-produced Iskander.

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

If North Korea imported Iskanders from Russia, the report added, "it has an existing capacity to deliver warheads to targets in South Korea with great precision".

A summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North's Kim Jong Un a year ago triggered a rapid diplomatic thaw on the peninsula, paving the way for a historic first meeting between Kim and Trump.

But their second summit in Hanoi in February broke up without agreement on sanctions relief and what Pyongyang might offer in exchange, and the North has since blamed Seoul for siding with Washington, leaving inter-Korean relations in limbo.

A spokesman for the North's delegation for military talks with the South said earlier Thursday that Saturday's "routine drill" was conducted within its own waters and added the "flying objects" did not pose any threat to the US, South Korea and Japan.

"The firing of the intermediate- and long-range missile and the ICBM was not involved in it," he said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR WEAPONS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 9, 2019 - 6:54pm

South Korean officials were briefing the White House Thursday on the outcome of their pathfinding meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Seoul has already publicized that North Korea offered talks with the United States on denuclearization and normalizing ties, a potential diplomatic opening after a year of escalating tensions over the North's nuclear and missile tests. The rival Koreas also agreed to hold a leadership summit in late April.

Top Trump administration officials were getting a chance to hear firsthand from South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, who led the delegation that went to Pyongyang. — Associated Press

May 9, 2019 - 6:54pm

Weapons fired by North Korea Thursday appeared to be two separate missiles, the South's military says, in what was Pyongyang's second launch in less than a week.

The North "fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles" from North Pyongan province, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, adding they flew 270 and 420 kilometers and the South Korean and US militaries were jointly analyzing them. -- Agence France-Presse

May 9, 2019 - 6:49pm

Weapons fired by North Korea Thursday appeared to be two separate missiles, the South's military says, in what was Pyongyang's second launch in less than a week.

The North "fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles" from North Pyongan province, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, adding they flew 270 and 420 kilometers and the South Korean and US militaries were jointly analyzing them. -- Agence France-Presse

March 9, 2019 - 6:12pm

US news outlet NPR has reports that North Korea may be preparing for a missile or space launch, based on satellite image analysis of a key facility near Pyongyang.

NPR says the images of Sanumdong, one of the facilities Pyongyang has used to produce inter-continental ballistic missiles and space rockets, were taken days before US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Hanoi for their high-stakes summit, which ended in failure. — AFP

January 10, 2019 - 9:02am

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed "concern" about the deadlock in denuclearisation discussions in his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pyongyang's state media reported Thursday.

Kim "raised concern about the impasse created in the process of improving US-DPRK ties and in denuclearisation talks", the official KCNA news agency said.

Kim said Pyongyang's "basic position of pursuing a peaceful resolution through dialogue remains unchanged", it added.

China is the North's main diplomatic backer and key trade partner, whose forces were instrumental in fighting for it during the 1950-53 Korean War. 

According to KCNA, Beijing issued a ringing endorsement of the North's position. -- Agence France-Presse

November 23, 2018 - 9:14am

The head of the U.N.'s atomic watchdog has called on North Korea to allow inspectors back into the country to monitor its nuclear program.

Speaking at a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Director General Yukiya Amano notes that Pyongyang had in September talked about denuclearization measures including the "permanent dismantlement of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon" — a reactor where it produces plutonium. — AP

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