Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP
- North Korea has reportedly test-fired multiple short-range missiles, according to the South Korean military.
- This missile test is the country’s first since it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in November 2017, after which it halted testing to pursue dialogue with the US.
- Resumed testing suggests that Pyongyang’s patience with Washington has run out after several rounds of failed negotiations.
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The South Korean military is reporting that North Korea is once again test-firing missiles after almost a year and a half without any testing.
North Korea test fired multiple unidentified short-range missiles Saturday morning local time, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a press release, according to the semi-official Yonhap News Agency. The weapons reportedly flew out to ranges of roughly 70 to 200 kilometers (43 to 124 miles).
The missiles were fired from the east coast town of Wonsan.
North Korea’s last missile test was conducted in November 2017, when the country launched a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile — the Hwasong-15.
As an apparent good-faith gesture to facilitate bilateral dialogue, Pyongyang proposed a self-imposed missile and nuclear testing moratorium while in talks with the US. But, round after round of failed negotiations, which included two leadership summits attended by President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un, have left both sides feeling frustrated.
In November of last year, after an abrupt cancellation of a meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart, the North tested a so-called "ultramodern tactical weapon," apparently an artillery piece.
Last month, North Korea tested a "new tactical guided weapon," reportedly components for a new anti-tank weapon.
A missile test would not only undermine Trump’s claims, evidence aside, of progress with North Korea, but it also risks bringing Pyongyang and Washington into the exchanges of heated rhetoric and shows of force that had many wondering if nuclear war was just over the horizon in 2017.
The latest test comes on the heels of a meeting between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the details of which remain murky.
Trump was reportedly "fully briefed" on the most recent test by White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has been decidedly pessimistic in his view of negotiations with Pyongyang. Bolton has, in the past, argued in favor of using military force.
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