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North Korea launches more missiles; US seizes ship in mounting tensions

North Korea launches more missiles; US seizes ship in mounting tensions

Pyongyang fired two short-range missiles Thursday - following an earlier drill on Saturday - having not launched any since November 2017, shortly before leader Kim Jong Un embarked on diplomatic overtures. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, which identifies remains of US service members, has suspended the efforts. And President Donald Trump said North Korea may not be ready to negotiate, indicating that a negotiated de-escalation of the latest crisis may not be quick in coming.

"We are assessing possible next steps in resuming communications with [North Korea] to plan for potential joint recovery operations to be scheduled during fiscal year 2020", he said.

Trump told reporters at the White House, " The relationship continues.

He went on to note that "after Kim Jong-un supervised its development, in November previous year and this April, the rocket was launched and flew 240 km from Hodo [on the coast of the Sea of Japan]".

If it ends up doing so, leading to complete suspension of dialogue between the USA and North next year, "we could look back and see these missile launches as a new chapter of North Korea's provocation cycle", Go said.

"North Korea, of course, stated that it would not look at the sanctions, and, when it announced a moratorium on missile launches, spoke only of medium and long-range missiles and not short-range ones, therefore, it [can] say that it didn't violate the terms of talks by launching Scud".

Some analysts have said that if the North returns to testing the kind of longer-range banned ballistic weapons that it fired in unusually large numbers in 2017 - when many feared a Washington-Pyongyang stand-off could end in war - it may signal that a frustrated North Korea is turning away from diplomacy.

"The Trump administration keeps downplaying these missiles because they are not ICBMs, but even though they can't reach the US mainland, it's missiles like these that will start the war", said Melissa Hanham, a weapons expert at Datayo, which tracks global security threats.

Signatories included the United States, South Korea, and Singapore, as well as other nations in Asia, in Latin America, Africa and Europe.




The launches are believed to have marked North Korea's first ballistic missile test in more than 500 days.

The JCS didn't elaborate on what type of missiles they were.

An FAO and WFP assessment team visited Unpa County, North Hwanghae Province, in North Korea in April.

North Korea and the United States are now deadlocked in diplomacy meant to rid the North of its nuclear arsenal.

North Korea again denied the existence of political prisoners and camps, but said US sanctions were hampering North Koreans' enjoyment of life.

Meanwhile, US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, who arrived in Seoul on Wednesday, will discuss issues regarding North Korea with South Korean officials, including food aid and cooperative measures to move nuclear talks forward.

Washington blamed the shortages on the North Korean government and said it could meet its people's needs if it redirected funds from its weapons programs.

"The recent drill conducted by our army is nothing more than part of the regular military training, and it has neither targeted anyone nor led to an aggravation of the situation in the region", an unidentified ministry spokesperson said in a statement to the state-run KCNA news agency.

Since then Kim has accused Washington of acting in "bad faith" and given it until the end of the year to change its approach.

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