North Korea fires two rounds of missiles, 2nd launch in a week, South Korea says
North Korea fired two rounds of missiles Thursday, its 2nd launch in a week, South Korea said.
The missiles were fired east “from Sinori area located in Northern Pyongan Province” about 4:29 p.m. and 4:49 p.m. local time Thursday (around 3:30 a.m. ET), the South Korean Defense Ministry said.
North Korean state media KCNA said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observed that launch. KCNA claimed the launch was a drill "to estimate and inspect the operating ability and the accuracy of striking duty performance of large-caliber long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons."
Experts who analyzed photos from the North Korean state media say it's clear the the county tested a new solid-fuel missile that appears to be modeled after Russia's Iskander short-range ballistic missile system, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
A spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry was quoted by KCNA as saying on Wednesday that last week’s launch was self-defensive military drill, and the official criticized it being branded as provocative.
But many viewed it as a sign of Pyongyang's growing frustration at stalled diplomatic talks with Washington over its nuclear arsenal.
President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un abruptly ended a summit earlier this year after they were unable to negotiate a denuclearization deal.
At that time, Trump indicated the talks fell apart over Kim's demand that all sanctions be lifted in exchange for concessions on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. The U.S. has indicated that the sanctions will stay in place until North Korea makes more significant moves.