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North Korea fires 2 more ‘projectiles’ – want US meeting by end of month

An intercontinental ballistic missile is launched in North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service)
September 10, 2019

North Korea launched another two “projectiles” early Tuesday morning local time, despite recently indicating their readiness to resume denuclearization talks with the United States.

The latest launch came from the town of Kaechon, and the missile traveled up to 205 miles eastward over the Sea of Japan, the South Korean military said, according to CNN.

Although the latest launch comes 17 days after the last launch, it is North Korea’s 10th weapons launch since May.

North Korea also launched two projectiles in August, which the U.S. later confirmed to be short-range ballistic missiles, and appeared to be similar to the four previous launches, which were initially reported as “unidentified projectiles.”

South Korean officials have been assessing Tuesday’s launch using radar and other intelligence tools to determine the nature of the weapon.

“Our military is observing the situation and maintaining readiness,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The launch came hours after top North Korean official Choe Son Hui issued a statement on Monday saying North Korea was willing to resume denuclearization discussions.

Choe’s statement said North Korea was ready “to sit with the US side for comprehensive discussions of the issues we have so far taken up at the time and place to be agreed late in September.”

“I believe that the US side will come out with a proposal geared to the interests of [North Korea] and the US and based on the calculation method acceptable to us,” the statement added.

President Trump remarked that Choe’s statement was “interesting,” the Associated Press reported.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump added. “In the meantime, we have our hostages back, we’re getting the remains of our great heroes back and we’ve had no nuclear testing for a long time.”

Denuclearization talks were halted at the second Trump-Kim summit in February when Trump refused to provide broad sanctions relief in exchange for only partial denuclearization.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Kim Jong Un has “not yet violated” his vow to halt North Korea’s nuclear program, despite the continuing weapon launches.

Analyst Kim Dong-yub with South Korea’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies said the two projectiles launched on Tuesday are likely among the new weapons systems also launched in July and August. One of those new weapons appeared to be similar to the U.S. Army’s Tactical Missile System.