North Korea Fires 2 Short-Range Projectiles, US Calls It ‘Disappointing’

South Korean navy vessel passes fishing boats

North Korea Fires 2 Short-Range Projectiles, US Calls It ‘Disappointing’

If confirmed to be a missile launch, it would be the latest in a series of weapons tests by North Korea, which defy UN Security Council resolutions banning Pyongyang from firing ballistic missiles.

"We, without being given anything, gave things the USA president can brag about but the USA side has not yet taken any corresponding step", a spokesman for the State Affairs Commission headed by Kim said earlier this month.

The latest test comes nearly two years to the date since leader Kim Jong Un's regime last test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting all of the U.S. Kim put a brief freeze on testing after that and resumed firing with a vengeance from May, sending off about two dozen missiles - nearly all of them short-range ballistic missiles.

Japanese media quoted sources from the defence ministry in Tokyo saying that two projectiles were launched from North Korea's east coast.

"North Korea's repeated launching of ballistic missiles is a serious challenge for not just Japan but for the global community", he told reporters, according to a transcript on his office's website.

North Korea has previously conducted missile tests on important American holidays.

It said Kim expressed "great satisfaction" over the results of the test-firing.

Seoul's Defense Ministry said the artillery firing occurred on November 23, the 9th anniversary of the North Korean shelling of a South Korean border island that killed four South Koreans in 2010.

South Korea sent a strong protest to the North over that incident, saying it violated a bilateral military agreement.

A US -led diplomacy aimed at persuading North Korea to scrap its nuclear program in return for political and economic benefits remains largely stalemated since the February collapse of a summit between Kim and President Donald Trump in Vietnam.

Thursday's was the the first such launch since the end of October when two suspected missiles were fired, again into the sea, between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

The KCNA provided no further details about the tactical weapon system, which is reportedly designated KN-25 by US Forces Korea, or the firings, which marked Pyongyang's 13th weapon test this year. The Trump team has said North Korea can only get rewards when it completely gives up nuclear arms - a move Pyongyang has said would be tantamount to political suicide.

However, the Koreans, led by their top nuclear envoy Kim Myong Gil, left the meeting early and later issued an angry statement saying that the United States side had brought "nothing to the negotiation table" and needed to get rid of their "hostile policy" toward Pyongyang.

Earlier this month, the United States and South Korea said they would postpone a joint military exercise after the North deemed merely scaling back the exercises as insufficient.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper called North Korea's response "disappointing", but said he did not "regret trying to take the high road, if you will, and keep the door open for peace and diplomacy if we can move the ball forward".

The nuclear negotiations broke down in February when Trump rejected Kim's demands for major sanctions relief in return for partial disarmament steps during their second summit in Vietnam.

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