North Korea performs third missile test in a week, President Trump says he’s not worried
Stars and Stripes
North Korea fired two rounds of projectiles into the sea off its eastern coast for the third time in just over a week, South Korea’s military said early Friday.
The launches happened after the North warned the South against joining upcoming military exercises with the United States.
The communist state is also frustrated over stalled nuclear talks and is likely seeking leverage as Washington tries to restart them, experts said.
North Korea fired the projectiles from Yonghung at 2:59 a.m. and 3:23 a.m., according to the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“We are monitoring the situation in case of more launches and maintaining a readiness posture,” it said.
President Donald Trump continued to play down the testing activity.
“I think it’s very much under control,” he told reporters at the White House. “I have no problem. We’ll see what happens, but these are short-range missiles. They are very standard.”
The latest flurry of activity began a week ago Thursday when the North launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, calling them a “solemn warning” to Seoul as it gears up for the military exercises.
No date has been set for the joint drills, which the U.S. and South Korea have said will be kept smaller than usual and low profile to avoid provoking the North.
North Korea then conducted another launch on Wednesday, saying it was a test of a newly developed “large-caliber multiple launch guided rocket system.”
Friday’s launch took place in a different area than the others. Experts have said the North is developing weapons that are mobile and can be harder to detect than those launched from a fixed site.
North Korea test-fired dozens of missiles and conducted three nuclear tests in 2016-17, showing strong progress in developing a nuclear weapon that could target the U.S. mainland.
Tensions spiked as Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traded personal insults and threats of war.
But the situation has calmed as a diplomatic effort to persuade the North to give up its nuclear weapons gained momentum last year.
Kim promised to suspend long-range missile and nuclear tests.
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