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(2nd LD) N. Korea fires unidentified short-range projectiles: JCS

All Headlines 06:30 August 02, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks by Trump, U.S. official from 9th para; CHANGES dateline)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Friday fired unidentified short-range projectiles off its east coast, South Korea's military said, its third launch in a week.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles were fired at 2:59 a.m. and 3:23 a.m. from Yonghung, South Hamgyong Province, into the East Sea.

"We are monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture," the JCS said.

This footage, aired by the (North) Korean Central Television on July 26, 2019, shows a short-range missile being fired from a transporter erector launcher on the Hodo Peninsula near the North's eastern coastal town of Wonsan the previous day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

Last week, North Korea test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast, saying it sent a "solemn" warning to South Korea over its planned military exercises with the United States this month.

On Wednesday, North Korea fired two more such missiles, according to the JCS. North Korea disputed the assessment, saying it had tested a new rocket launch system.

U.N. Security Council resolutions ban North Korea from launching ballistic missiles of any kind.

Reuters earlier quoted two U.S. officials as saying a new projectile launch had been detected on Friday (Seoul time).

The launch did not pose a threat to North America, one official was quoted as saying, adding it was unclear how many projectiles had been launched.

At the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump insisted he had no problem with the launches because there had been no agreement with North Korea on short-range missiles.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had agreed during their inter-Korean border meeting on June 30 to resume working-level talks on denuclearizing the regime.

"I think it's very much under control," he told reporters. Asked if he can still continue denuclearization talks with Kim, Trump said, "Oh, sure, because these are short-range missiles."

"We never discussed that. We discussed nuclear. What we talked about is nuclear," he said.

Meanwhile, a senior U.S. government official said Washington is monitoring the situation.

"We are aware of public reports of additional missile launches from North Korea today," the official told Yonhap News Agency.

"We continue to monitor the situation and are consulting closely with our South Korean and Japanese allies," he said on condition of anonymity.


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