North Korea launched missiles and threw harsh criticism at South Korea and the U.S. on Tuesday, the day after South Korean President Moon Jae-in emphasized the “peace economy” between the two Koreas as a way to overcome the export regulations by Japan. Pyongyang denounced the U.S.-ROK joint military exercises, which began on Monday, and threatened Seoul to “avoid doing things deserving of beating.”
According to the South Korea military, two missiles presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles were launched from Kwail County, South Hwanghae Province, North Korea at 5:24 a.m. and 5:36 a.m. on Tuesday. The missiles flew more than 450 kilometers, crossing the North Korean inland with the peak altitude of 37 kilometers and at a max speed of Mach 6.9, before falling in the East Sea. Given the range of over 400 kilometers, which can cover the entirety of the Korean Peninsula, they are likely to be KN-23, “North Korean version of the Iskander,” rather than new multiple rocket launchers. There have been four provocations by North Korea for the past 13 days since its missile launch on July 25.
“Despite our repetitive warnings, South Korea and the U.S. have begun their joint military exercises targeting us,” said a spokesperson for North Korea’s foreign ministry 43 minutes after the second missile launch. “The momentum in (inter-Korean) talks will be diminished as long as hostile military activities contuse.” The spokesperson added, “A constructive conversation cannot be expected while war simulations are being conducted. There is no point in engaging in a worthless conversation.” The statement is interpreted as that North Korea is unwilling to partake in the working-level negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang during the U.S.-ROK joint military exercises, which will continue until August 20, and that the negotiations will be resumed on the condition of the suspension of the military exercises.
Gi-Jae Han email@example.com