National Security & Defense

U.S. Officials: North Korea Fires Third Round of Short-Range Missiles in Two Weeks

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un inspects the defense detachment on Jangjae Islet and the Hero Defense Detachment on Mu Islet in an undated photo released May 5, 2017. (KCNA via Reuters)

U.S. officials said Thursday that North Korea has conducted its third test launch of short-range ballistic missiles in just over a week despite warnings from the U.S. to halt missile tests.

Two missiles were fired into the Sea Japan on Friday morning local time, the third such launch in eight days. The South Korean Joint Chiefs said the projectiles were shot at 2:59 a.m. and 3:23 a.m. from South Hamgyong Province.

Last Thursday, North Korea fired the first pair of a new type of short-range missiles, according to South Korea, the first missile test since several months before June of last year when President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met for their historic summit to discuss the country’s denuclearization. On Wednesday the dictatorship fired another two missiles from the Hodo Peninsula.

The country also fired a number of unidentified short-range projectiles in May.

The latest missile tests posed no threat to the U.S. or its allies, U.S. officials said.

“I think it’s very much under control, very much under control,” Trump said Thursday of the tests.

A possible reason for the North’s recent posturings of force is the upcoming joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea later this month. According to U.S. officials, North Korea’s missile tests are “an expected show of force.”

Facing crippling economic sanctions from the Trump administration, North Korea has demanded that the U.S. “withdraw its hostile policy” or risk turning the promise to work towards denuclearization Trump and Kim Jong-un signed at last year’s summit into a “blank sheet of paper because the U.S. is turning a blind eye to its implementation.”

Negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea broke down at a summit between the two heads of state in Vietnam in February, and in April the North announced it had begun testing weapons again, including a “powerful warhead.”

Despite the launches and escalating tensions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the U.S. is “ready to continue our diplomatic conversations with the North Koreans.”

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