North Korea launches 'at least two unidentified projectiles' into sea

10 September 2019, 03:40 | Updated: 25 October 2019, 15:04

North Korea launched at least two unidentified projectiles on Monday
North Korea launched at least two unidentified projectiles on Monday. Picture: PA

By Megan White

North Korea has launched at least two “unidentified projectiles” into the sea, hours after offering to resume nuclear diplomacy with the US.

They were fired from South Phyongan province on Tuesday, travelling over 200 miles to the east, according to South Korea's military.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defence Ministry said they will monitor possible additional launches but gave no further details, such as what kind of projectile was fired.

North Korea’s projectile launches and demand for new proposals were apparently aimed at pressuring the US to make concessions when the talks restart.

The country is widely believed to want the US to provide it with security guarantees and extensive relief from sanctions in return for limited denuclearisation steps.

Tuesday's launches were the eighth such launches since late July and the first since August 24.

The launches came hours after the country offered to resume nuclear diplomacy with the US
The launches came hours after the country offered to resume nuclear diplomacy with the US. Picture: PA

The previous seven launches have revealed short-range missile and rocket artillery systems that experts say would potentially expand its capabilities to strike targets throughout South Korea, including US military bases there.

On Monday night, the North's first vice foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, said the country is willing to resume nuclear diplomacy with the US in late September but that Washington must come to the negotiating table with acceptable new proposals.

She said if the proposals do not satisfy North Korea, dealings between the two countries may come to an end.

President Donald Trump called North Korea's announcement "interesting."

"We'll see what happens," Mr Trump said. "In the meantime, we have our hostages back, we're getting the remains of our great heroes back and we've had no nuclear testing for a long time."

There was no immediate comment from the White House following reports of the launches.

South Korea's presidential office said national security adviser Chung Eui-yong presided over an emergency meeting where officials expressed "strong concern" over the continuing short-range launches by the North.

In the late-night statement carried by state media, Ms Choe said North Korea is willing to sit down with the US "for comprehensive discussions in late September of the issues we have so far taken up, at a time and place to be agreed".

Talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament fell apart in February when Mr Trump rejected North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's demand for sweeping sanctions relief in return for partial disarmament at their second summit in Vietnam.

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