North Korea held another missile test Friday – its third in eight days as it tries to pressure the US into restarting stalled nuclear talks and halting joint military exercises with the South.
The missiles were launched at 2:59am and 3:23am from the country’s east coast and flew 137 miles out to sea at a maximum height of 15 miles before coming down.
South Korea and the US said it appears the projectiles were short-range ballistic missiles similar to the type that Kim Jong-un’s regime tested on Thursday last week.
Kim also tested what he described as a ‘large-calibre multiple launch guided rocket system’ early Wednesday morning.
Following Wednesday’s test, the regime said the rockets would be ‘an inescapable distress to the forces becoming a fat target of the weapon’, believed to be a reference to South Korean and US forces, both of which are within its range.
As Friday’s test was being conducted, Trump was quizzed at the White House about the missile launches and said that he ‘no problem’ with the tests.
Trump and Kim had agreed during their nuclear negotiations that North Korea would not test any intercontinental ballistic missiles, but did not come to an agreement on shorter range munitions.
‘We never made an agreement on that. I have no problem,’ Trump said.
Mike Pompeo, who is attending a security summit in Thailand on Friday, said he was willing to restart nuclear talks with the North, and was disappointed that the kingdom decided not to send a diplomat to the conference.
“I think it would’ve given us an opportunity to have another set of conversations,” he said. “I hope it won’t be too long before I have a chance to do that.”
Nuclear envoys from the United States, South Korea and Japan held a meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN forum on Friday.
They were expected to discuss the North’s latest missile tests and ways to restart working-level talks between the United States and North Korea.