N Korea slams Seoul over military drills with US, says Kim oversaw latest weapons tests

13-Aug-2019 Intellasia | FoxNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

North Korea said Saturday that dictator Kim Jong Un supervised the test-firing of a new weapons system, the latest in a series of launches widely seen as an effort to drive a wedge between the US and South Korea amid ongoing joint military exercises between the two countries.

The Korean Central News Agency, Pyongyang’s official propaganda organ, said Kim expressed “great satisfaction” over the launches. The agency didn’t specify whether the weapons were ballistic missiles or rocket artillery but said they were developed to suit the North’s “terrain condition” and provide “advantageous tactical character different to existing weapons systems.”

The KCNA statement came hours after President Trump said Kim has expressed a desire to meet again to start nuclear negotiations after the end of ongoing joint US-South Korea military exercises, and had apologised for the flurry of recent short-range ballistic launches that rattled US allies in the region.

In a separate statement, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry blasted South Korea for continuing to host military drills with the United States and said that its future dialogue will be held strictly between Pyongyang and Washington.

South Korea’s military said Friday that the North had launched two short-range ballistic missiles Saturday, the fifth such launch within the past two weeks. The country’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles flew around 250 miles and landed in the Sea of Japan.

By launching a slew of weapons that directly threaten South Korea but not the US mainland or its Pacific territories, North Korea also appears to be dialing up pressure on Seoul to make stronger efforts to coax major concessions from the United States on Pyongyang’s behalf.

South Korea has said North Korea’s recent launches could hurt efforts to stabilise peace on the Korean Peninsula and called for the North to uphold an agreement to form a joint military committee to discuss reducing tensions, which was part of the inter-Korean military agreement reached last year. North Korea in recent months has ignored the South’s calls for dialogue while demanding that Seoul turn away from Washington and resume inter-Korean economic cooperation held back by US-led sanctions against the North.

The rash of weapons firings come as American and South Korean forces conduct a 10-day military exercise which the North has denounced. North Korean officials have called the large-scale annual drills a “rehearsal for war” while the South called the test-firings a show of force.

Pyongyang has claimed that the US-South Korea exercises force it to “develop, test and deploy the powerful physical means essential for national defense.”



Category: Korea

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