Six days ago, North Korea fired two
short range missiles, one of which travelled about 425 miles and the other 268
That launch was the first since President Trump and Kim Jong-un held an
impromptu meeting in June at the demilitarized zone (DMZ), an area that divides
the two Koreas, where they agreed to restarted denuclearization talks.
North Korea has recently again voiced anger over planned military exercises
between South Korea and the US, an annual event which the allies have refused
to cancel but have scaled back significantly.
One analyst said more missile tests could be expected.
North Korea called the drills a “violation of the spirit” of the
joint statement signed by President Trump and Kim Jong-un at their first
face-to-face talks in Singapore last year.
Pyongyang had warned the exercises could affect the resumption of
On July 29, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he hoped these talks
could start “very soon”, but that there were no further summits
Last year, Kim Jong-un said North Korea would stop nuclear testing and would no longer launch intercontinental ballistic missiles.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has overseen a
“strike drill” testing various missile components on May 4, state
media has confirmed.
“A number of short-range projectiles” were also fired from the
Hodo peninsula into the Sea of Japan, the state media said.
Kim Jong-un gave the order of firing to “increase the combat
ability” of North Korea, the announcement said.
President Donald Trump tweeted he believed Kim Jong-un would not jeopardize
the path towards better relations.
He added that Kim Jong-un “knows that I am with him & does not want
to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!
President Trump tweeted on May 4: “Anything
in this very interesting world is possible, but I believe that Kim Jong-Un
fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea and will do nothing
to interfere or end it.”
Donald Trump walked away from what he described as a bad deal offered by the
North Korean at a summit meeting in Hanoi in February.
In its report on May 5, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Kim
Jing-un had stressed the need to “defend the political sovereignty and
economic self-sustenance” of North Korea in the face of threat and
The aim of the drill, which was testing “large-caliber long-range
multiple rocket launchers”, was to “inspect the operating ability and
the accuracy of striking duty performance,” the report said.
Kim Jong-un told troops to bear in mind “the iron truth that genuine
peace and security are ensured and guaranteed only by powerful strength”.
It is believed that latest test is intended to increase pressure on
Washington to move nuclear talks forward.
Last month, North Korea said it had tested what it described as a new
“tactical guided weapon”.
That was the first test since the Hanoi summit.
Analysts say a short-range solid fuel ballistic missile was fired on May 4,
making this the most serious test since North Korea fired an intercontinental
ballistic missile in November 2017.
However, the test does not violate North Korea’s promise not to test
long-range or nuclear missiles.
North Korean missile tests often come in response to South Korean military exercises involving the US.
Thousands of US and South Korean troops are currently taking part in joint military drills, which are mainly largely computer-simulated exercises.
The projectiles were launched at 06:49 on August 26, South Korea’s defense ministry said.
The US military initially reported that two of the missiles had failed but, according to its later assessment, one appears to have blown up almost immediately while two flew about 155 miles in a north-easterly direction.
The launches were spread over a period of 30 minutes, an official said.
The South Korean defense ministry said: “The military is keeping a tight surveillance over the North to cope with further provocations.”
Experts fear the tests indicate progress towards North Korea’s ultimate goal of putting a nuclear warhead on a missile.
The latest firing, however, does not violate the UN Security Council’s resolutions against the North, as those resolutions only ban ballistic missile launches, reported South Korean news agency Yonhap.
South Korean military spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said the latest launch showed the North “likely wanted to show off its ability to precisely target a large warship” after recent military drills involving US aircraft carriers and South Korean troops.
“By testing different types of missiles, North Korea also appears to be aiming to secure the upper hand in relations with South Korea and the United States,” Roh Jae-cheon told reporters.
Anti-ship cruise missiles are guided missiles which generally skim the water. In 2012, North Korea displayed several such weapons known as Styx.
North Korea has also previously unsuccessfully tested anti-ship ballistic missiles, experts believe.
Last week the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution to impose targeted sanctions on certain North Korean officials and state entities.
The US has also ramped up its military presence in the region, conducting drills with Japan as well as South Korea, and is installing a controversial missile defense system in South Korea, known as Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).
However, South Korea said on June 7 it was suspending the further deployment of the system until an environmental assessment is completed.