North Korean leader Kim Jong Un once again supervised a “new weapon” launch, state media said Saturday, complicating efforts at denuclearization ahead of next week’s visit to Seoul by the US envoy to Pyongyang.
Friday’s launch was the North’s sixth test in recent weeks as it protests the annual US-South Korea military exercises which Pyongyang considers rehearsals for invasion.
Defense officials in Seoul said Pyongyang fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles Friday, that flew some 230 kilometers (140 miles) before splashing down in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan.
A report by the official Korean Central News Agency said the tests had a “perfect result”, which helped “cement bigger confidence in this weapon system”.
“Juche shells were fired in the presence of the Supreme Leader,” KCNA said.
Pyongyang has routinely expressed anger at the war games, but in the past has avoided carrying out tests while the manoeuvres are taking place.
The KCNA report came after Pyongyang called South Korean President Moon Jae-in “impudent” for hoping to resume inter-Korean talks while continuing military drills with Washington.
Plans to resume working-level talks between the North and Washington appear to have stalled since an impromptu June meeting between leaders of the two countries.
But US President Donald Trump, who has been playing down Pyongyang’s tests, said last week that he had received a “very beautiful letter” from Kim.
He also agreed with Kim’s opposition to the war games — albeit for financial rather than military reasons.
Stephen Biegun, the US special envoy for North Korea, will travel to Japan and South Korea next week for talks on denuclearizing the North, the US State Department said Friday.
The North has said nuclear talks would be “strictly” between Pyongyang and Washington, refusing to hold separate dialogue with the South.
“We have nothing to talk any more with the South Korean authorities nor have any idea to sit with them again,” the North said Friday.
Washington, Seoul’s security ally, stations nearly 30,000 troops in the South to defend it from its neighbor.
New documents reveal the military has paid Trump’s Scotland resort more than $180,000
Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. military has spent more than $180,000 at the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland while service members have been stopped at the Glasgow Prestwick airport, according to a Pentagon letter sent to the House Oversight Committee.
Politico first reported on and published the letter on Wednesday.
Accused child molester Roy Moore defends Brett Kavanaugh: ‘I too was the object of false allegations’
Accused child molester Roy Moore on Wednesday came to the defense of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault.
Moore's remarks came after The New York Times published accounts from a new book, which found that two of Kavanaugh's accusers were credible.
In a statement to the press, Moore defended Kavanaugh on Wednesday.
"I too was the subject of false allegations, but unlike Justice Kavanaugh and others who have suffered the ire of the left, I filed suit against my accusers and their conspirators," Moore said. "For over two years, I have not seen nor been able to question any of those who went on national television tol tell their false stories just 32 days before the election in December 2017, and ironically I have been sued for defamation for merely denying their false and malicious accusations."
Trump says ‘many options’ on Iran response
US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has "many options" in addition to military strikes against Iran and that details of newly announced sanctions will come within 48 hours.
Asked by reporters about a possible US attack on Iran, Trump said "there are many options. There's the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that."
He explained that by "ultimate option" he meant "war."
Trump said that the specifics of sanctions he announced earlier would be made public "over the next 48 hours."
US ally Saudi Arabia says Iran was behind a missile or drone attack setting ablaze major oil facilities last weekend.