North Korea Fires Two Projectiles when Trump Plays it Down

South Korea’s military said that North Korea has fired two unidentified projectiles into the sea off its eastern coast. South Korea’s joint chief of staff said in a statement that the projectiles were fired at dawn on Saturday from the area around the north-eastern city of Hamhung.

Kim Dong-yup, a former naval officer who teaches at Seoul’s Kyungnam University said that the weapons tested could be related to the completion of North Korea’s new rocket artillery system. It required multiple launches of the same kind.

This comes after the US president, Donald Trump, said he had received a “very beautiful letter” from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. A US official said that at least one projectile was launched. It appeared to be similar to previous short-range missiles fired by Pyongyang. North Korea has fired a series of missiles and rockets since Kim and Trump agreed at a 30th June meeting to revive stalled denuclearisation talks.

Trump played down the recent North Korean weapons launches when he spoke to reporters: “The missile tests have all been short-range. No ballistic missile tests. No long-range missiles.” He also said Kim had written in his letter that he was not happy about the US-South Korean war games and missile tests. Kim said the weapons tests were a response to US-South Korean military drills being held this month.

Large solid-fuel rocket engines for North Korea’s ballistic missile program are being produced at a factory complex in Hamhung. It also has a testing site for those engines.

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