South’s military: North Korea fires unidentified projectiles

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FILE – In this Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, file photo provided on Feb. 29, 2020 by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, inspects the military drill of units of the Korean People’s Army, with soldiers shown wearing face masks. South Korea’s military says North Korea has fired at least one unidentified projectile. The launch on Monday, March 2, 2020 came two days North Korea’s state media said leader Kim supervised an artillery drill aimed at testing the combat readiness of units in front-line and eastern areas. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles from a coastal area Monday as it resumed weapons demonstrations following a months-long hiatus.

The launches came two days after North Korea’s state media said leader Kim Jong Un supervised an artillery drill aimed at testing the combat readiness of units in front-line and eastern areas.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the launches in a statement but couldn’t immediately confirm how far the projectiles flew or whether the weapons were ballistic or rocket artillery.

During a key ruling party meeting in late December, Kim expressed deep frustration over deadlocked diplomacy with the United States and said he won’t denuclearize if the U.S. persists with its hostile policy on his country. He also said he would unveil a new “strategic weapon” soon and no longer be bound by a self-imposed weapons test moratorium that coincided with his diplomacy with Trump.

Nuclear diplomacy between North Korea and the U.S. has largely stalled since the breakdown of Kim’s second summit with Trump in February 2019 in Vietnam. That summit collapsed because Trump rejected Kim’s demands for broad sanctions relief in return for dismantling his main nuclear complex, a limited disarmament step. Subsequent talks between Pyongyang and Washington reported little progress.

After the failed Hanoi summit, North Korea carried out a slew of short-range missile and other weapons tests. Trump downplayed them saying there were short-range weapons that didn’t pose a direct threat to the U.S. mainland.

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