North Korea fires two short-range projectiles: South Korea

Pyongyang fires off third missile test in eight days as US president plays down recent launches as ‘very standard’.

North Korea
The nuclear-armed North described an earlier missile launch as a warning to the South over planned joint military drills with the US [KCNA]

North Korea has carried out its third missile test in eight days, according to the South’s military, but US President Donald Trump said he had “no problem” with the spate of launches by Pyongyang.

The two unidentified short-range projectiles were fired off separately from North Korea’s eastern coast early on Friday and came down in the sea, South Korea‘s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) told Yonhap news agency.

An official from the JCS, who did not want to be named, citing office rules, told The Associated Press news agency that more analysis would be required to determine whether the projectiles were ballistic missiles or rocket artillery.

Nuclear-armed North Korea is barred from ballistic missile tests under United Nations resolutions and its actions have drawn condemnation from European members of the Security Council.

But a comparatively sanguine response from Trump, who has met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un three times, generated global headlines on each occasion.

“I have no problem, we’ll see what happens but short range (missiles) are very standard,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a campaign rally on Thursday.

The North described an earlier missile launch as a warning to the South over planned joint military drills with the United States.

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from Seoul, said more launches could be expected until talks between the US and North Korea resume in the next few weeks.

“They [North Korea] know that they can get away with it,” McBride said.

A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the launch did not pose a threat to North America.

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles early on Wednesday, only days after it launched two similar missiles on July 25. 


Earlier on Thursday and before the latest launch, a senior US official said North Korea’s latest missile launches did not violate a pledge that Kim made to Trump not to test long-range missiles and nuclear weapons.

The two leaders agreed at a June 30 meeting to revive stalled denuclearisation talks, but efforts to resume the negotiations remain in doubt.

Diplomats have crisscrossed the region this week in the hope of restarting the talks.

The North Korea launches have appeared intended to put pressure on South Korea and the US to stop planned military exercises and offer other concessions, analysts said.

A summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam in February collapsed after the two sides failed to reconcile differences between US demands for North Korea’s complete denuclearisation and North Korean demands for sanctions relief.

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from Washington, DC, said North Korea’s recent activities “don’t help” the atmosphere ahead of the expected talks.

“What is clear though is that Donald Trump needs some sort of political win, given how much capital he has invested. And if he doesn’t get something and get it soon, then what we’ve seen are just 18 months’ photo ops from Donald Trump.”  

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies