Report: North Korea fired ballistic missiles over weekend

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HANDOUT - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a missile launch from a site near the North's eastern coastal town of Wonsan. Two missiles tested by North Korea on Thursday were a
HANDOUT - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a missile launch from a site near the North's eastern coastal town of Wonsan. Two missiles tested by North Korea on Thursday were a "new-type [of] tactical guided weapon" and their launch was meant to send a "solemn warning" to Seoul, the country's state-run news agency KCNA has reported. Photo: -/KCNA/dpa - ATTENTION: editorial use only and only if the credit mentioned above is referenced in full

dpa/GNA – North Korea fired multiple short-range missiles over the weekend, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Wednesday.

Pyongyang fired two cruise missiles off its west coast on Sunday, Yonhap cited military sources in Seoul as saying.

According to a senior US administration official the launches were part of “normal testing” not in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

“We’ve learned nothing much has changed,” US President Joe Biden told reporters in Columbus, Ohio, when he was asked about the launches.

According to the US Defense Department, Biden added, “it’s business as usual. There’s no new wrinkle in what they did.”

The test on Sunday came in the wake of joint military exercises by the armed forces of South Korea and the US. The nine-day command exercise, which did not include field training, ended on Thursday last week.

The influential sister of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong, had condemned the military exercises and accused the new US administration of wanting to cause trouble as a first step.

The rogue nuclear nation is banned from testing ballistic missiles by UN resolutions, and has been slapped with tough international sanctions to deter it from continuing to develop rockets that could be equipped with nuclear warheads.

The sanctions imposed as a result of the weapons programme are hampering North Korea’s economic development.

Global concerns about North Korea intensified late in 2019 after Pyongyang imposed a year-end deadline for the United States to offer sanctions relief and threatened to send a “Christmas gift,” widely interpreted to mean a weapons test, if demands were not met.

Washington’s negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme have not made any progress since former president Donald Trump’s failed summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam in February 2019.

Although Trump touted his friendly relationship with Kim, the two sides failed to agree on a roadmap for North Korea’s disarmament and what Pyongyang could receive in return.

Last week, North Korea’s first deputy foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, vowed to ignore US attempts to establish contact until Washington has met Pyongyang’s conditions, indicating any movement on the debate about its nuclear weapons programme remains a long way away.

According to media reports, the US has been trying to contact North Korea since mid-February.

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