Even as North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un has been making overtures that he wants to resume nuclear disarmament talks with President Trump, his country has fired off what appear to be missiles in apparent defiance.
According to the South Korean military, North Korea launched at least two “unidentified projectiles” toward the sea on Tuesday Sept. 10, only hours after Kim offered to resume nuclear diplomacy with the United States but warned its dealings with Washington may end without new U.S. proposals.
The North’s projectile launches and demand for new proposals were apparently aimed at pressuring the United States to make concessions when the North Korea-U.S. talks restart. North Korea is widely believed to want the United States to provide it with security guarantees and extensive relief from U.S.-led sanctions in return for limited denuclearization steps.
The North Korean projectiles were fired from its South Phyongan province, which surrounds its capital city of Pyongyang. They flew across the country and in the direction of the waters off its east coast, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Ministry.
The military said South Korea will monitor possible additional launches by North Korea but gave no further details as to exactly what the “projectiles” were that were launched by North Korea.
North Korean Projectiles Could Be Rockets, Could Be Large Artillery Shells
Tuesday’s launches were the eighth such launches since late July and the first since Aug. 24. The previous seven launches were revealed to be short-range missile and rocket artillery systems, which experts say can potentially expand the North’s ability to strike targets throughout South Korea, including U.S. military bases there.
The North’s first vice foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, said North Korea is willing to resume nuclear diplomacy with the United States in late September but that Washington must come to the negotiating table with acceptable new proposals. She said if the proposals don’t satisfy North Korea, dealings between the two countries may come to an end.
President Donald Trump called North Korea’s announcement “interesting.”
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “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.”
There was no immediate comment from the White House following reports of the launches.
Talks on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament fell apart in February when Trump rejected North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s demand for sweeping sanctions relief in return for partial, disarmament at their second summit in Vietnam.
It was a huge embarrassment for the young North Korean leader, who made a dayslong train trip to the Vietnamese capital to obtain the sanctions relief he needs to revitalize his country’s troubled economy.