North Korean leader inspects test of new weapon

North Korea says it will not negotiate with South Korea until it stops its joint military drills with the US.

Ben Ariel ,

Kim Jong Un guides the test firing of a new weapon
Kim Jong Un guides the test firing of a new weapon
Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected Saturday’s test of a new weapon, Reuters reported, citing the state news agency KCNA.

North Korea fired two short-range missiles on Saturday, its fifth missile test within two weeks, in what South Korea called a show of force against joint new military drills with the United States.

The US and South Korea kicked off largely computer-simulated small-scale exercises on Saturday for a 10-day run, as an alternative to previous large-scale annual drills that were halted to expedite nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

North Korea calls such exercises a “rehearsal for war” and has countered them with its own military action.

The latest “projectiles” were developed to suit the country’s terrain, and the latest test proved their “advantageous and powerful demand of the design was perfectly met,” KCNA said.

North Korean media has quoted Kim as having said in the past week that the recent tests are meant to serve as a warning to the US and South Korea’s joint military drills.

Meanwhile on Saturday, in a separate statement carried by KCNA, a senior North Korean diplomat said there will not be inter-Korean talks unless the allies end their military exercises that still maintain “aggressive nature.”

“Given that the military exercise clearly puts us as an enemy in its concept,” said Kwon Jong Gun, director-general for American affairs at the foreign ministry.

“They should think that an inter-Korean contact itself will be difficult to be made unless they put an end to such a military exercise or before they make a plausible excuse or an explanation in a sincere manner.”

Kwon said South Korea talked “nonsense” by urging the North to stop missile tests which served its right to self-defense.

“Even the US president made a remark which in effect recognizes the self-defensive rights of a sovereign state, saying that it is a small missile test which a lot of countries do,” Kwon said.

The tests come as talks between the US and North Korea on denuclearization continue to stall, having broken down after the failed summit between Kim and Trump in February in Vietnam.

Nevertheless, Trump said a week ago that North Korea’s missile tests may have violated United Nations resolutions but did not break his agreement with Kim.

On Friday, Trump told reporters he had received yet another "very beautiful" letter from the North Korean leader

"He wasn't happy with the tests, the war games...and as you know I've never liked it either," Trump said.



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