Kim personally guided Saturday's test of 'New Weapon'

People watch a television news screen showing file footage of North Korea's missile launch at a railway station in Seoul on Saturday.-AFP

People watch a television news screen showing file footage of North Korea's missile launch at a railway station in Seoul on Saturday.-AFP

According to South Korean military experts, North Korea is testing a new rocket artillery system.

Trump tweeted on August 10 that Kim made these statements in a letter to him and that he looked "forward to seeing Kim Jong Un in the not too distant future!"

As you have likely heard already, North Korea fired off two more short-range missiles into the ocean over the past week or so.

Our Kim Ji-yeon starts us off with more details on that exercise.

Last week, South Korea and the US conducted preliminary sessions in the run-up to their joint summertime training. Pyongyang test-fired its new KN-23 short-range missiles resembling Russia's Iskander tactical ballistic missiles on May 4 and 9.

The report carried by the Korean Central News Agency followed Trump's comments that Kim had expressed a willingness to meet once the US-South Korean exercises are over and apologised for the slew of missile tests.

Trump said Saturday that Kim wants to meet once again to resume nuclear talks with the USA, as soon as the joint military exercise between Seoul and Washington is over. He said that Kim offered him "a small apology" for the flurry of missile tests, and that he assured him they would stop when the exercises end.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has hinted that the U.S. might be sending a sterner message to North Korea privately, while suggesting that North Korea's missile launches were just part of the diplomatic back-and-forth.

Trump has appeared determined to secure a denuclearization agreement with North Korea ahead of next year's USA presidential elections, despite faltering talks since he first met Kim in a historic ice-breaking summit in Singapore in June 2018.

-South Korea military exercises and the slow pace of nuclear negotiations with the United States.Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government.

In mid-July Pyongyang warned that the pending U.S. -ROK exercises - which are said to involve simulations focused on stabilizing North Korea after it has been occupied - could impact promised working-level talks in the wake of Trump's sudden meeting with Kim in late June.

But the North insists even the downsized drills violate agreements between Kim and Trump and compel it to "develop, test and deploy the powerful physical means essential for national defense".

Shin Jong-woo, a representative secretary of the Korea Defense and Security Forum, assessed the North's new weapon as a tactical surface-to-surface missile similar to the USA missile system.

But North Korea mocked those efforts in a separate report on Sunday, although it focused on the South and avoided criticizing Trump.

"Kim appeals to Trump directly about the exercises, trying to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul", Easley said.

Seoul said it expects further missile firings in the coming weeks.

A senior State Department official who refused to be named told journalists last week that the missile tests were an impediment to peace.

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