North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said two missiles fired under his supervision were newly designed tactical weapons that sent a “solemn warning” to the South over plans to hold military drills with the United States.
Thursday’s missile tests were the first since Kim and US President Donald Trump agreed to resume nuclear talks during an impromptu meeting last month in the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea.
That working-level dialogue has yet to begin and, even before Thursday’s launches, Pyongyang had warned the talks could be derailed by Washington and Seoul’s refusal to scrap joint military exercises scheduled for next month.
North Korean state media provided no technical specifications, but said Friday the latest tests were of a “new-type tactical guided weapon” that sent a “solemn warning to the South Korean warmongers” over their insistence on holding the joint drills “in defiance of repeated warnings”.
There are close to 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea and their annual manoeuvres with South Korean soldiers have always infuriated Pyongyang.
South Korean military monitors said the two short-range missiles fired on Thursday flew nearly 450 kilometres and 700 kilometres respectively, before splashing down in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan.
That range would allow them to hit any target in South Korea.
SEOUL (AFP), 26 July, 2019