North Korean leader Kim oversees launch of new type of rocket

North Korea confirmed on August 1 that it fired projectiles the previous day, with state-run media reporting that leader Kim Jong Un oversaw a test firing of a "newly-developed large-caliber multiple launch guided rocket system."

North Korean leader Kim oversees launch of new type of rocket

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Photo: AFP

The rocket system "would be an inescapable distress to the forces becoming a fat target of the weapon," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted Kim as saying, adding he "expressed satisfaction over the result."

On July 25, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles as a warning against South Korea's plan to carry out a joint military exercise with the United States this month.

The new type of rocket "will play a main role in ground military operations," the news agency said.

KCNA report on August 1 also did not refer to the US-South Korea military drill, slated to be held from Aug. 5 to 20. Pyongyang has denounced such exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion.

Recently, North Korea said that it may reconsider its suspension of nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests if Washington and Seoul go ahead with their joint drill as scheduled.

According to the South, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast toward the Sea of Japan on Wednesday morning.

The missiles were fired from the Kalma area of Wonsan in the eastern part of the North at 5:06 am and 5:27 am and flew about 250 kilometers while reaching an altitude of about 30 km, Seoul said.

Edition of the Rodong Sinmun on August 1 did not run a photo of a rocket. The US and South Korea are analyzing the details of the projectiles shot by the North.

UN Security Council resolutions have banned North Korea from using ballistic missile technology.

South Korea's military has said the two missiles launched last week, which it assessed as having flown about 600 km before falling into the Sea of Japan, bore resemblances to Russian Iskander surface-to-surface, short-range ballistic missiles.

In early May, North Korea also fired what resembled Iskander missiles but are named KN-23 missiles by North Korea.

Despite North Korea's provocations, the United States and South Korea have indicated that they have no intention of halting their planned military exercise.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry said Lee Do Hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, held talks with his US counterpart Stephen Biegunin in Bangkok on July 31.

The officials, who were in the Thai capital ahead of Friday's meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum, exchanged views on how to respond to North Korea's latest missile launch.

They also agreed that Washington and Seoul should make diplomatic efforts to resume negotiations between the United States and North Korea on the latter's denuclearization, according to the ministry.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, meanwhile, has canceled his participation in Friday's regional security forum centered on the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Thai government said.

Ledear Kim and US President Donald Trump made an agreement at their June 30 meeting at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeom that the two countries would restart stalled denuclearization talks within weeks, but they have yet to take place./.



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