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North Korea test-fires rocket launcher hours after agreeing to resume talks with U.S.

North Korea had signalled its willingness to resume denuclearisation talks on Monday.

Julia Yeo | September 12, 02:34 am

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North Korea leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the testing of a super-large multiple rocket launcher on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, reported North Korean state media KCNA.

According to Reuters, North Korea fired a new round of short-range projectiles on Tuesday, hours after the country had signalled that it was willing to resume denuclearisation talks with the United States later this month.

Capabilities of multiple rocket launcher “finally verified”

Kim, who has been presiding over a previous testing of the same multiple rocket launcher, reportedly said that its capabilities have been “finally verified in terms of combat operation”.

What remained to be done with the rocket launcher, said Kim, was a “running fire test”, but did not elaborate on the specifics of the test.

KCNA also reported that the North Korean leader had ordered officials present at the testing on Tuesday, including his sister Kim Yo-Jong, to “steadily” attain cutting edge national defense.

Tests may be a message to Washington

According to Reuters, Tuesday’s rocket launcher testing appeared to have been timed to send a message to Washington, possibly to say what could happen if the U.S. does not offer realistic proposals to North Korea during future denuclearisation talks.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-Hui told state media on Monday that North Korea was willing to sit “face-to-face” again, at an agreed time and place in late September.

However, she also urged Washington to come up with “a fresh approach”, in order to keep hopes for a deal alive, BBC reported.

Former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, had previously taken a hard stance towards North Korea, saying that even the country’s short-range launches violated U.N. resolutions.

Bolton was “asked to resign” by Donald Trump shortly after North Korea signalled its willingness to resume denuclearisation talks, reported Reuters.

Top image from KCNA via Reuters TV

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