“Super-large” rocket launcher tested.
News has come out that North Korea launched at least two unidentified projectiles toward the sea on Tuesday. This action comes hours after the nation’s officials offered to resume nuclear diplomacy with the United States.
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 fired from its South Phyongan province, which surrounds its capital city of Pyongyang, 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 like exactly what projectile North Korea fired.
These two reports are the latest in a series of tests that have occurred after peace talks collapsed in February during the Hanoi Summit.
After more than a year of refraining from missile tests, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime has conducted 10 launches since May including Tuesday’s. Most of those are believed to be short-range missiles, and experts say they have shown impressive technological advancements.
In August, two projectiles were launched. A US official confirmed then that North Korea launched short-range ballistic missiles, and said they appear to be similar to other recent launches.
The previous four rounds of launches by North Korea were believed to be short-range missile tests, which Pyongyang is barred from conducting under United Nations Security Council resolutions.
One of the weapons fired was a newly developed rocket launcher.
The “super-large multiple rocket launcher” was tested in an exercise observed by Kim about two weeks ago.
The KCNA [Korean Central News Agency] report said the test was aimed at “measuring the time of combat deployment” and implied another test could follow.
“What remains to be done is running fire test which is most vivid character in terms of the power of multiple rocket launcher,” KCNA said.
However, the offer of resuming peace talks marks a reversal in the deterioration of diplomatic relations between the US and North Korea that has occurred in the past few months.
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said in a statement that the North is willing to sit down with the U.S. “at the time and place to be agreed late in September.”
…Last month, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho called his U.S. counterpart, Mike Pompeo, “the diehard toxin of the U.S. diplomacy” for suggesting that all sanctions on the North would remain in place until the North’s denuclearization.
In a statement issued in late August, Vice Foreign Minister Choe said that expectations of dialogue with the U.S. are “gradually disappearing.”
Observers indicate that North Korea’s continued weapons tests are aimed to strengthen its diplomatic hand and pressure the U.S. to make more concessions when the talks resume. Perhaps such an approach will work out better for them than it worked for the Taliban.DONATE
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