North Korea launches short-range missiles | News Coverage from USA

North Korea launches short-range missiles

WASHINGTON – North Korea has fired several unidentified short-range missiles from its eastern coast, its first launch in more than a year, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

South Korean media reported the missiles were launched about 9 a.m. local time from the city of Wonsan toward the ocean. The missiles flew about 125 miles before landing in the water, the joint chiefs said.

Officials are analyzing the situation and details surrounding the type of missiles that were launched, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported. 

The launch comes less than three months since President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi to negotiate denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The summit, which was the second held between the leaders, ended without any agreement on denuclearization or sanction relief. 

The launch would not violate Kim’s self-imposed testing moratorium, which prevented the country from testing intercontinental-range ballistic missiles. But the news is sure to raise tensions between North Korea and the U.S. 

In March, after North Korean officials threatened to resume testing missiles, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Kim had promised Trump that such tests would not happen. 

“In Hanoi, on multiple occasions, he spoke directly to the president and made a commitment that he would not resume nuclear testing nor would he resume missile testing,” Pompeo said. “So that’s Chairman Kim’s word. We have every expectation he will live up to that commitment.”

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Last month, Kim oversaw the testing of a new “tactical guided weapon.” It was the nation’s first publicly announced weapons test since last year and came amid growing signs that Kim has soured on his negotiations with Trump.

The country’s state-run news outlet KCNA did not specify what kind of weapon the North Koreans tested last month but said the event was “of very weighty significance in increasing the combat power” of the country’s military. 

Since the February summit, the country has asked that Pompeo be pulled from negotiations, saying he’d been “talking nonsense” and misrepresenting comments made by Kim. 

In March, North Korea Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in Pyongyang that the U.S. threw away a “golden opportunity” when the two countries did not come to an agreement during the February summit and said the country was rethinking its moratorium against missile launches. 

“We have neither the intention to compromise with the U.S. in any form nor much less the desire or plan to conduct this kind of negotiation,” Choe said.

In Washington after the remarks, Pompeo downplayed the threat, saying Trump would continue to pursue negotiations with the North Korean leader. 

“She left open the possibility that negotiations would continue, for sure,” Pompeo said of Choe’s remarks. “It’s the administration desire that we continue to have conversations around this.” 

At the time, Pompeo said the U.S. expects Kim to live up to his promise to Trump to maintain the moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests. 

Contributing: Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY; Associated Press

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