North Korea is launching suspected missiles into the sea, South Korea and Japan say

The South Korean military said North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles into its eastern waters on Thursday as it revived its test activity to expand its military capabilities and put pressure on the Biden administration amid a stalemate in diplomacy.

South Korea’s joint chief of staff said the US and South Korean militaries analyzed the launches from an area on the north coast of the North. It was not immediately clear if they judged the weapons as ballistic or how far they flew.

The launches came a day after US and South Korean officials said the Nordics fired short-range weapons that were believed to be cruise missiles in the West Sea over the weekend.

The Nordic weapons demonstrations come in the middle of stopped nuclear negotiations with the United States. Talks shook after the collapse of Kim Jong Un’s second summit with former President Donald Trump in February 2019, in which the Americans rejected North Korean demands for greater sanctions in exchange for a partial handover of their nuclear capability.

The Nordic region has so far ignored the Biden administration’s efforts to reach out, saying it will not engage in meaningful talks with the United States unless Washington abandons what Pyongyang sees as a “hostile” policy, clearly referring to US-led sanctions and pressure over it. nuclear power program.

Kim’s powerful sister last week lamented the United States over its combined military exercises with South Korea, describing the exercises as an invasion rehearsal and warning Washington to “refrain from causing a stink” if it wants to “sleep in peace” for the next four years. .

South Korea’s defense ministry said the North’s short-range test on Sunday was the first missile since April 2020. Biden downplayed those launches and told reporters: “There is no new wrinkle in what they did.”

North Korea has a history of testing new US administrations with missile launches and other provocations aimed at forcing the Americans back to the negotiating table.

Since Trump’s first meeting with Kim in Singapore in 2018, the North has not conducted nuclear or long-range missile tests, although analysts believe they have gone ahead with their programs on both.

The Nordic region has continued with short- and medium-sized missile tests during its cessation of nuclear and long-range tests and expanded its ability to hit targets in South Korea and Japan, including US bases there.

While Kim has promised to strengthen his nuclear program in recent political speeches, he also tried to give the new US government an opening by saying that the fate of their relations depends on whether Washington rejects what he calls hostile American politics.

During his visit to Seoul last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken severely criticized North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and human rights records and pressured China to use its “enormous influence” to persuade the North to dismiss.

(AP)