South Korea says Pyongyang has fired two missiles into the sea off its eastern coast, shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rejected any further talks with Seoul over a recent joint military exercise with the US.
The South Korean military said in a statement that the North fired two “unidentified projectiles” from a site near the city of Tongchon on Friday.
South Korea’s military officials said they were analyzing data they acquired through radar and other intelligence-gathering equipment to determine what type of projectiles had been launched.
Seoul has described most of the North’s previous launches as short-range ballistic missiles, while Pyongyang said some were “large-caliber multiple-launch guided rocket systems.”
The recent launch, the sixth in less than a month, came just a day after South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged North Korea and the United States to resume denuclearization talks.
Those talks have been stalled since the failure of the last summit between Kim and his American counterpart Donald Trump who has so far refused to ease sanctions on North Korea.
The North is banned from ballistic missile launches under UN Security Council resolutions.
President Moon also said on Thursday that he envisioned a future of close economic cooperation, denuclearization and the unification of the two Koreas by 2045.
In an extended attack against President Moon, the North said in a statement that it has “nothing to talk any more with the South Korean authorities nor have any idea to sit with them again.”
It called Moon an “impudent guy rare to be found,” for hoping for a resumption of inter-Korean talks while continuing military drills with Washington.
A North Korean government spokesman also blamed Moon for the loss of dialogue momentum between the North and South.
The unidentified spokesman said the stalemate in implementing pledges, made at a historic summit between Moon and Kim last year, was entirely the responsibility of Seoul.
He said that the joint US-South Korea war games were a sign of Seoul’s hostility towards Pyongyang.
The two Korea’s are technically still at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a truce, rather than a peace treaty.
The South’s unification ministry reacted to North Korea’s comments about Moon, saying they are “not in line” with inter-Korean agreements and unhelpful for developing relations between Seoul and Pyongyang.
The North’s spokesman, however, did not rule out the possibility of talks with the United States. Pyongyang recently said its nuclear talks will be “strictly” between Pyongyang and Washington.
In their third, brief meeting at the Korean border at the end of June, Kim and Trump agreed to kick-start working-level talks.