On Saturday, North Korea expanded a series of weapons, firing what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles at sea, according to the South Korean military.
Its fifth round of launches in less than three weeks was probably another protest at the slow pace of nuclear negotiations with the United States and the continuing joint US and South Korean military exercises that the north says are aimed at an invasion of the north.
The southern military warned reporters of the launch hours hours after President Donald Trump said he received a "beautiful" three-page letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and predicted they will have more talks to try to resolve the nuclear deadlock. .
Trump reiterated that he was not bothered by the flurry of short-range weapons that Kim launched despite the growing threat to US allies in the region, saying Pyongyang never broke his promise to stop nuclear testing.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the alleged ballistic missiles were fired from the north east coast and flew about 400 kilometers at a peak of 48 kilometers before landing in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
The Seoul Presidential Blue House said the tests are likely to check the reliability of newly developed northern weapons and also show discontent with Allied exercises.
The North has unleashed a series of short-range weapon test shots in recent weeks, saying that joint military exercises among the Allies force it to "develop, test and employ the powerful physical means essential for national defense."
The North did not immediately comment on the releases. South Korea said weapons testing did not help in efforts to stabilize peace and called on Pyongyang to advocate an inter-Korean agreement reached last year to form a joint military committee to discuss reducing military tensions.
Missile testing takes place amid stalled talks about the northern nuclear program. So far, North Korea has maintained its unilateral suspension of long-range and nuclear missile tests that occurred during a diplomatic attack on Washington last year.
Experts say Trump's disregard for northern launches has allowed the country more room to step up its testing activity, while seeking to leverage negotiations, which could resume after the Allies' exercise ended later this month. .
Leif-Eric Easley, an expert at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, said North Korea is also trying to exploit Trump's concern about getting South Korea to pay more for US troops in the country, as well as worsening Seoul's relations. with Tokyo. This is spreading to security issues.
South Korea has threatened to close a military intelligence sharing agreement with Japan in what is seen as an attempt to pressure the United States to mediate the dispute.
"Kim appeals to Trump directly about the exercises, trying to create a barrier between Washington and Seoul," Easley said. "Meanwhile, North Korean propaganda supports growing anti-Japan sentiment in South Korea, calculating that a diplomatically isolated Seoul will be more subject to Pyongyang's coercion."
The north has described recent tests as a new system of short-range ballistic rocket artillery and launching missiles. Northern state media said Kim, while overseeing a demonstration of newly developed short-range ballistic missiles on Tuesday, said the launches were intended to send a warning to Washington and Seoul about their military exercises.
The Allies have reduced their main military exercises since the first summit between Kim and Trump in June at 2018 in Singapore, which created space for diplomacy. But the North insists that even reduced fights violate the agreements between Kim and Trump.
Recent Northern tests have dampened the optimism that followed Trump and Kim's third and last meeting at 30 in June on the Inter-Korean border. The leaders agreed to resume work-level nuclear negotiations, but there have been no known meetings between the two sides since.
Source: The Associated Press