SEOUL – North Korea has conducted another apparent missile test. The launch comes just weeks ahead of Pyongyang’s end-of-year deadline for nuclear talks.
South Korea’s military said the North launched two short-range projectiles toward the sea off its east coast at 5:00pm local time.
Seoul estimates the weapons traveled about 380 kilometers before splashing into the sea. It apparently was the North’s latest test of a large-caliber multiple rocket launch system.
It is North Korea’s 13th round of weapons tests since early May, after having refrained from any tests for a year and a half.
North Korea is intensifying pressure ahead of its end-of-year deadline for the United States to offer more concessions in stalled nuclear talks.
North Korea last month walked out of working level nuclear negotiations with the United States. It blamed Washington for the breakdown. The North has since warned it could restart nuclear or longer range missile tests.
Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump have met three times since June 2018, but have failed to make any progress on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
Talks have been stalled since February, when a summit in Hanoi between Kim and Trump ended in a disagreement over how to pace sanctions relief with steps to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program.
Almost all of North Korea’s missile test this year have been short range. Trump has said he has “no problem” with North Korea’s short-range launches, since they cannot reach the United States.
The latest launch came as the United States began celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. It is only the second time this year North Korea has launched a missile in the evening. All other launches this year have occurred in the early morning hours.