North Korea Launches Short-Range Projectiles, South Says – Smart Media Magazine

North Korea Launches Short-Range Projectiles, South Says

JEJU, South Korea — North Korea fired several short-range projectiles off its east coast on Saturday, in a move likely to raise tensions as denuclearization talks with the United States remain stalled.

The South Korean military said in a statement that the North had fired several short-range projectiles between 9:06 a.m. and 9:27 a.m. from near Wonsan, a coastal town east of Pyongyang, the capital. The projectiles flew 70 to 200 kilometers before they landed in the sea between North Korea and Japan, it said.

An earlier statement from the military said the North had fired a single missile, but the later statement used the vaguer term “projectile.” The military has used that term in the past to describe North Korean missile launches when it was too soon to determine exactly what kind of missile had been deployed.

“We are aware of North Korea’s actions tonight,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said on Friday night in Washington. “We will continue to monitor as necessary.” A Pentagon spokesman, Chris Sherwood, said officials there were looking into the launch and were not yet able to confirm anything.

Mr. Kim has pushed for a gradual, step-by-step approach to denuclearization, where each nation would make a concession that would be met with one of similar weight by the opposing side. But Mr. Trump’s top foreign policy officials — John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, and Mr. Pompeo — have argued that that approach is flawed because previous administrations had tried it, only to have North Korea continue developing nuclear weapons. North Korean officials say they do not want Mr. Bolton or Mr. Pompeo involved in future negotiations.

American experts estimate that North Korea has 30 to 60 nuclear warheads, and say it might have an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the continental United States. Its conventional artillery weapons could also decimate Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

Mr. Trump has boasted for months of the fact that North Korea has not done a nuclear test or an intercontinental ballistic missile test since November 2017, following a period when the two leaders denounced each other in statements and made threats of war. The halt to the testing has been the main evidence presented by Mr. Trump as a sign that relations with North Korea were improving, and that he would succeed in defanging Mr. Kim.

The launch on Saturday did not violate Mr. Kim’s moratorium because it did not involve an intercontinental ballistic missile, but it appeared to send a signal of frustration.

Mr. Kazianis, of the Center for the National Interest, said that Mr. Kim “has decided to remind the world — and specifically the United States — that his weapons capabilities are growing by the day. My fear is that we are at the beginning stages of a slide back to the days of nuclear war threats and personal insults, a dangerous cycle of spiking tensions that must be avoided at all costs.”

Experts said the North’s test in April was likely a demonstration of a conventional weapons system, possibly artillery or antiaircraft — and also a message directed by Mr. Kim to Washington that North Korea would continue to amass weapons while the diplomatic standoff continued.

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