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North Korea test

North Korea said Thursday it tested a new rocket system in launches conducted the previous day, raising questions about South Korea's assessment that the communist nation is believed to have fired short-range ballistic missiles.

Leader Kim Jong-un "guided a test-fire of a newly developed large-caliber multiple launch guided rocket system on July 31," the Korean Central News Agency said.

"The test-fire scientifically confirmed that the tactical data and technical characteristics of the new-type large-caliber guided ordnance rocket reached the numerical values of its design, and verified the combat effectiveness of the overall system," the KCNA said.

"After learning about the result of the test-fire, (Kim Jong-un) said that it is very great and it would be an inescapable distress to the forces becoming a fat target of the weapon," it added.

The KCNA did not mention any country as its potential target, but the report appears to be referring to Seoul, which is apparently within the range of the weapon.

Bolton: 'N. Korea missile launches didn't break promise' Bolton: 'N. Korea missile launches didn't break promise' 2019-08-01 10:13  |  North Korea
The report came a day after South Korea's military said that North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast early on Wednesday, saying they were estimated to have flown about 250 kilometers at an approximate altitude of 30 km.

South Korea held a National Security Council (NSC) meeting and expressed "strong" concerns over the launches, urging Pyongyang to stop acts that could heighten tensions and hamper efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula.

The latest firing came six days after North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles from the same area into the East Sea in its first provocation since May.

Following last week's missile tests, North Korea called the launches a "demonstration of power" aimed at sending a "solemn" warning to South Korea over its joint military drills with the U.S. slated for this month and purchase of high-tech fighter jets from the ally.

The series of weapons tests come as Washington has sought to restart working-level talks on dismantling the North's nuclear and ballistic missile programs in line with an agreement reached when U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim held a surprise meeting June 30 at the inter-Korean border.

Despite the North's recent weapons tests, the U.S. has remained upbeat about the prospects for talks with the North, with Trump dismissing last week's missiles as "smaller ones" that many countries test. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said Monday he hoped the discussions will resume "very soon."

According to U.S. news reports, North Korean and U.S. officials held a secret meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom last week, where the North Koreans expressed a willingness to resume working-level nuclear talks very soon. (Yonhap)



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