This picture taken on September 3, 2019 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 7, 2019 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un welcomed by participants of the 14th National Conference of Teachers at an undisclosed location in North Korea.
AFP/KCNA via KNS
North Korea fires 'projectiles' after offering talks with US
(Agence France-Presse) - September 10, 2019 - 8:48am

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Tuesday fired projectiles toward the sea, South Korea's military said, hours after Pyongyang said it is willing to hold working-level talks with the United States in late September.

Negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been gridlocked since a second summit between the North's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in February ended without a deal.

North Korea twice launched "unidentified projectiles" Tuesday morning in an easterly direction from South Pyongan province, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

No further details were immediately available but these were the latest to be fired since July. Previous launches have been identified as short-range missiles.

"We are aware of reports of projectiles launched from North Korea," a senior US official said. "We are continuing to monitor the situation and consulting closely with our allies in the region."

Trump and Kim had agreed to restart working-level dialogue during an impromptu meeting at the Demilitarised Zone dividing the nuclear-armed North and South Korea in June, but those talks have yet to begin.

"We are willing to sit face-to-face with the US around late September at a time and place that we can agree on," Choe Son Hui, the North's vice foreign minister, said in a statement carried on Monday by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Choe's comment followed her warning in late August that North Korea's "expectations of dialogue with the US are gradually disappearing", after Pyongyang conducted weapons tests to protest joint US-South Korean military exercises.

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

The period suggested by North Korea would correspond with the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

On Monday, Choe recalled Kim's comments that the North would wait until the end of the year for Washington to "quit its current calculation method".

She repeated Pyongyang's call for the US to come up with an "acceptable calculation" or risk jeopardising the entire diplomatic process.

When asked by AFP about the latest North Korean offer, a State Department official replied: "We don't have any meetings to announce at this time."

Nuclear warhead development

Kim and Trump adopted a vaguely-worded statement on the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" at their first summit in Singapore in June last year, but little progress has since been made on dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

A report published by a United Nations panel of experts last week said North Korea's development of nuclear warheads has not stopped, despite the moratorium it declared on nuclear blasts and long-range missile launches.

US officials have called North Korea's recent short-range missile launches provocations, although Trump himself has avoided criticising them.

Pyongyang is barred from ballistic missile tests under UN resolutions, and its previous short-range missile tests have been condemned by European members of the UN Security Council.

North Korea is under heavy US and UN sanctions over its weapons programmes, and has criticised Washington's position that sanctions against the isolated regime will not be lifted until the country gives up its nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang's latest comments on talks come after the US special envoy to North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said the North must stop blocking nuclear talks.

"If we are to succeed, North Korea must set aside its search for obstacles to negotiations and instead seek the opportunities for engagement while that opportunity lasts," he said on Friday.

"We have made clear to North Korea that we are prepared to engage as soon as we hear from them," he said on Friday. "We are ready, but we cannot do this by ourselves."

NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR POWER UNITED STATES
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 17, 2019 - 10:00am

The United States formally concluded that North Korea ordered the murder of Kim Jong-Nam, a half-brother and potential rival to ruler Kim Jong-Un, with the VX nerve agent.

"This public display of contempt for universal norms against chemical weapons use further demonstrates the reckless nature of North Korea and underscores that we cannot afford to tolerate a North Korean WMD program of any kind," US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

The finding triggered another layer of US economic sanctions against Pyongyang, just as South Korea reported that the regime is ready for talks to end a nuclear standoff.

September 17, 2019 - 10:00am

US President Donald Trump says that it is "probably not" the right time for him to visit North Korea but he could see doing so sometime in the future.

"I don't think we're ready for that," Trump tells reporters when asked about visiting Pyongyang for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "I think we have a ways to go yet.

"The relationship is very good," Trump adds, but the time was not right for a visit to Pyongyang. — AFP

September 10, 2019 - 5:06pm

South Korea's military say North Korea fired projectiles into the sea hours after Pyongyang said it was willing to hold working-level talks this month with the United States.

Negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been gridlocked since a second summit between the North's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in February ended without a deal.

North Korea twice launched "unidentified projectiles" Tuesday morning in an easterly direction. The objects flew approximately 330 kilometres (205 miles) from the Kaechon area in South Pyongan province, according to the South Korean military. — AFP

August 31, 2019 - 1:40pm

North Korea lashes out at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over his comments on Pyongyang's "rogue behaviour" and warned its expectations for nuclear talks with Washington are "gradually disappearing".

Pyongyang's angry words come as working-level talks with Washington remain gridlocked, despite an agreement in June between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump to kickstart the process.

Instead no progress has been made in recent weeks, as the reclusive state launched a series of weapons tests in protest at joint military exercises between the US and South Korea. — AFP

August 10, 2019 - 9:28am

US President Donald Trump says that he agreed with Kim Jong Un's opposition to US-South Korea war games, refusing to criticize missile tests that Pyongyang said are a "solemn warning" over the exercises.

Trump says he had received a "beautiful letter" from Kim expressing Pyongyang's anger over the joint war games, which spurred the series of tests of extremely fast, short-range guided missiles.

But hours after Trump said he foresaw having another meeting with Kim, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea fired two more apparent rockets into the East Sea, or Sea of Japan. — AFP

August 7, 2019 - 1:17pm

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un says the country's latest missile launches were a warning to Washington and Seoul over their joint war games, state news agency KCNA reports, as tensions rise on the Korean peninsula.

The latest launch by the nuclear-armed North came after the South Korean and US militaries began mainly computer-simulated joint exercises on Monday to test Seoul's ability to take operational control in wartime.

Those drills are taking place despite Pyongyang's warnings that the exercises would jeopardise nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea. — AFP

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