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North Korea fires two 'unidentified projectiles' on Thanksgiving

Sunghee Hwang - Agence France-Presse
North Korea fires two 'unidentified projectiles' on Thanksgiving
This undated and undlocated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 29, 2019 shows the test-fire of a super-large multiple launch rocket system.
AFP / KCNA via KNS

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired two "unidentified projectiles" on Thursday -- the Thanksgiving holiday in the US -- Seoul said, as nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington remain deadlocked.

The projectiles were fired eastwards from South Hamgyong province and came down in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

They added that the launch, the latest in a series by Pyongyang, was carried out at 16:59 pm local time (0859 GMT) -- or the early hours on the east coast of the United States, during one of the country's biggest annual holidays.

It was also one day short of the two-year anniversary of the North's first test of its Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, which analysts say is capable of reaching the entire US mainland.

Pyongyang is banned from firing ballistic missiles under UN Security Council resolutions, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Thursday's launch was the latest in a series of violations.

"North Korea's repeated launches of ballistic missiles are a serious defiance to not only our country but also the international community," he told reporters in Tokyo.

In Washington, a State Department official said the US was monitoring the situation and consulting with allies in the region.

"We call on North Korea to avoid provocations, abide by obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions, and return to sustained and substantive negotiations to do its part to achieve complete denuclearization," the official said.

Thursday's launch came after Pyongyang fired what it called a "super-large multiple rocket launcher" system last month, and the JCS said the latest devices were presumed to be of a similar type.

They flew 380 kilometres (236 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of 97 kilometres, the JCS added.

Nuclear negotiations between the US and the North have been at a standstill since the Hanoi summit between President Donald Trump and leader Kim Jong Un broke up in February, and Pyongyang has since demanded Washington change its approach by the end of the year.

"North Korea is growing anxious as its deadline approaches," said Shin Beom-chul of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

"That's why it's carrying out these provocations, which is the typical North Korean playbook to get more concessions from the US."

Test moratorium

Last month Pyongyang also claimed to have tested a "new type" of submarine-launched ballistic missile -- a potential strategic game-changer.

Trump has played down the recent launches, repeatedly pointing to North Korea's moratorium on nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches as foreign policy successes for him.

Trump and Kim 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.

North Korea is under multiple sets of international sanctions over its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes and lifting some of them was a key demand of the North's in Hanoi.

In June, Trump and Kim agreed to restart working-level talks during a meeting at the Demilitarized Zone dividing the peninsula and the two sides met in Sweden in October, only for Pyongyang to walk away.

Earlier this month, Seoul and Washington said they would postpone planned joint military exercises to ease diplomacy with the North, an announcement Pyongyang dismissed.

The North has long condemned the joint drills, which it calls preparations for invasion, and carried out multiple missile launches in the summer in protest as the allies carried out their annual exercises.

North Korea has issued a series of increasingly assertive comments in recent weeks as time runs down on its end-of-year deadline.

Trump hinted at the prospect of a fourth meeting with Kim in a tweet earlier this month, only to be rebuffed by the North, which said it had no interest in summits "that bring nothing to us".

NORTH KOREA

SOUTH KOREA

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 12, 2022 - 8:09am

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

August 12, 2022 - 8:09am

The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un accused the South of causing a Covid outbreak in the country and warned of "retaliation", as Pyongyang declares "victory" over its outbreak, state media says Thursday.

North Korea has previously said that "alien things" near the border with the South caused the Covid outbreak in the isolated country, a claim that Seoul has rejected.

Despite a ban that took effect in 2021, South Korean activists have for years flown balloons containing propaganda leaflets and US dollars over the border, which Pyongyang has long protested against.

On Thursday, Kim Jong Un's sister, Yo Jong, blamed these activities for the country's Covid outbreak, saying they were a "crime against humanity", the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) reports. —  AFP

August 12, 2022 - 8:08am

The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un accused the South of causing a Covid outbreak in the country and warned of "retaliation", as Pyongyang declares "victory" over its outbreak, state media says Thursday.

North Korea has previously said that "alien things" near the border with the South caused the Covid outbreak in the isolated country, a claim that Seoul has rejected.

Despite a ban that took effect in 2021, South Korean activists have for years flown balloons containing propaganda leaflets and US dollars over the border, which Pyongyang has long protested against.

On Thursday, Kim Jong Un's sister, Yo Jong, blamed these activities for the country's Covid outbreak, saying they were a "crime against humanity", the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) reports. —  AFP

July 28, 2022 - 1:57pm

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says his country was "ready to mobilize" its nuclear deterrent in any future military clash with the United States and South Korea, state media said Thursday.

Washington and Seoul have repeatedly warned that Pyongyang is preparing to carry out its seventh nuclear test — a move that the United States has warned would provoke a "swift and forceful" response.

In Kim's latest speech to mark the armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War — known as "Victory Day" in the North — he says the country's armed forces were "thoroughly prepared" for any crisis. 

"Our country's nuclear war deterrent is also ready to mobilise its absolute power faithfully, accurately and promptly in accordance with its mission," Kim says in a speech, according to Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency. — AFP

June 6, 2022 - 9:01am

South Korea and the United States fired eight ballistic missiles on Monday in response to North Korean weapons tests the previous day, Seoul's military says.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff say the allies launched the ground-to-ground Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile at targets in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, in the early morning.

The 10-minute volley comes a day after North Korea launched eight short-range ballistic missiles following a South Korea-US joint military exercise involving a US aircraft carrier.

"Our military strongly condemns the North's series of ballistic missile provocations and sternly urges it to immediately stop acts that raise military tensions on the peninsula," it adds. — AFP

June 5, 2022 - 9:02am

South Korea's military says North Korea launched at least one ballistic missile into waters off its east coast, the latest in a recent series of weapons tests.

Pyongyang has doubled down on upgrading its weapons programme this year despite facing crippling economic sanctions.

"North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile(s) into the East Sea," Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff says Sunday morning, referring to the Sea of Japan. — AFP

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