North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversees long-range strike drill

10, May. 2019

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BEIJING, Kyodo - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised a strike drill of “various long-range strike means” on Thursday, state-run media reported, a day after the South said Pyongyang fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles.

Kim emphasized the necessity of boosting the defense capability “to carry out combat tasks and keep full combat posture to cope with any emergency as required by the prevailing situation,” the Korean Central News Agency said.

As denuclearization negotiations have been deadlocked in the wake of the collapse of their second summit in late February, tensions between Washington and Pyongyang are likely to be rekindled, foreign affairs experts say.

The report came after South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles were fired from the Kusong area of North Pyongan Province, in the northwestern part of the North, in an easterly direction at around 4:30 p.m on Thursday.

One flew about 420 kilometers and the other around 270 km, until they fell into the sea off North Korea's east coast, Seoul said. They appeared to be ballistic missiles, pundits say. Pyongyang's firing of ballistic missiles is banned under U.N. resolutions.

Last Saturday, North Korea also fired multiple projectiles, including one believed to be a short-range ballistic missile, fanning fears the launch could hamper U.S. President Donald Trump's efforts to reach a denuclearization deal.

Trump told reporters at the White House that the United States is looking “very seriously” at North Korea's latest missile launch, adding, “I don't think they're ready to negotiate.”

“We're looking at it very seriously right now. They were smaller missiles, short-range missiles,” Trump said. “Nobody's happy about it, but we're taking a good look and we'll see.” (Kyodo)