US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercise Despite North Korea Condemnation

US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercise Despite North Korea Condemnation

North Korea showed off more missiles on Sunday, hours after President Donald Trump said he's not anxious about the recent spate of launches and raised hope for new nuclear talks with the communist state.

The report by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) came a day after Seoul said it had detected North Korea launching what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea. It said they flew about 400 kilometers (248 miles) before landing in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Melissa Hanham, the deputy director of the Open Nuclear Network, said the tests show that North Korea has had two short-range ballistic missiles under development this year despite diplomacy.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un smiles as he guides the test-firing of a "new weapon system" on Sunday.

North Korea has said leader Kim Jong Un supervised test-firings of an unspecified new weapons system.

The agency did not unveil any characteristics of the weapon, only noting that, according to Kim, it had been developed to suit the country's terrain.

Then on Saturday, Trump said Kim had expressed in a letter his willingness to meet and resume negotiations once the US-South Korean exercises are over.

Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said the North's photographs and South Korea's flight data of the launches suggest that the North tested a new weapons system that is different from the short-range ballistic missiles it repeatedly fired in recent weeks.

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"They had better keep in mind that this dialogue would be held strictly between (North Korea) and the U.S., not between the North and the South", it said.

Trump tweeted that in his letter, Kim complained about the exercises, but apologized for the tests and wrote that they will cease when the exercises stop.

Keen to tout his North Korea policy ahead of his 2020 re-election bid, Trump has played down the recent series of missile tests, saying they do not violate Kim's pledge to forego nuclear and long-range tests.

Trump has signaled that would be a red line, although US -led United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions ban the North from using any ballistic missile technology.

He referred to Trump's recent comments, saying that "even the USA president made a remark which in effect recognizes the self-defensive rights of a sovereign state, saying that it is a small missile test which a lot of countries do". He also said Kim apologized for the flurry of recent short-range missile tests that has rattled U.S. allies in the region.

The US and South Korea have scaled down their major military exercises since Trump and Kim's first summit in June 2018.

But the North said that changing the name of the military exercise can not hide what it claimed is an "aggressive war game" against the regime.

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