North Korea fired short-range missiles over the weekend after denouncing the United States for continuing joint military exercises with South Korea, Fox News confirmed.
This is probably the first short-range missile launch since October 2019.
None of the missiles fired were the new long-range ballistic missiles paraded on October 10, the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean Communist Party, officials told Fox News. The short-range missiles did not contain nuclear warheads. Pentagon officials watching North Korea took note of the launch but were not alarmed.
The launch came shortly after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Seoul.
The Washington Post was the first to announce the launch.
Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, issued a warning to the United States in the wake of the visit.
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“We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration which is striving to disengage [gun] smell of powder in our country, ”Kim Yo Jong said in a statement, referring to joint military operations in the region.
“Yes [the U.S.] wants to sleep in peace for the next four years, it is better to refrain from causing a stench at its first stage, ”she added, according to an English translation.
The Biden administration tried unsuccessfully to resume talks with North Korea, after more than a year without active dialogue.
For weeks, defense officials feared North Korea would restart missile tests.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Biden administration wanted to take a “new approach” to North Korea, but offered few details. Neither the Obama administrations nor Trump were able to stop North Korea from advancing its weapons systems.
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has had three high-level summit meetings with Trump and exchanged a series of letters, but the nuclear-weapon state has ended the talks and said it won’t ‘would engage more unless the United States abandoned its hostile policies.
South Korean and US troops began a joint military exercise in the spring, which was limited to computer simulations due to the risk of coronavirus and ongoing efforts to engage with the North.
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“War exercises and hostility can never go hand in hand with dialogue and cooperation,” Kim Yo Jong said.
Satellite images from North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center detected an increase in activity earlier this month, worrying US officials.
Lucas Tomlinson of Fox News contributed to this report.
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