North Korea mocks South's president after latest missile test, rejects peace talks

North Korea mocks South's president after latest missile test, rejects peace talks

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles launched from the North's eastern coast flew about 230 kilometres (143 miles) on an apogee of 30 kilometres (18 miles) before landing in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Pyongyang has recently rebuffed Seoul, saying nuclear talks will be "strictly" between the North and the United States and refusing to hold separate dialogue with the South.

Expressing his "small apology for testing the short-range missiles", Kim told Trump that such saber-rattling would stop when the exercises end, according to Trump.

Experts say the North's recent launches are aimed at building leverage for nuclear talks with the United States, and pressuring Seoul to coax major concessions from Washington on its behalf.

Pyongyang has also been demanding that Seoul turn away from Washington and restart inter-Korean economic projects held back by US -led sanctions against the North.

The launches have complicated attempts to restart talks between U.S. and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. The comments were carried by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA). The joint US-South Korea drills have been held for years but were scaled down to ease tensions with Pyongyang.

Pyongyang routinely denounces the annual exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion.

After threatening stern countermeasures and declaring that South Korea would "never lose" to Japan again, Moon has taken a more conciliatory tone over the past week as there was relief in Seoul that the impact of Japan's trade measures might not be as bad as initially thought.

United Nations resolutions prohibit North Korea from launching ballistic missiles, whether short-, medium- or long-range.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (文在寅) on Thursday (Aug. 15) talked about cooperation with Japan as well as a goal of Korean unification by 2045 in a speech that marked the 74th anniversary of the Korean liberation.

South Korea convenes an emergency security meeting after North Korea conducts another weapons test.

Moon and Kim have met three times since April a year ago, pledging peace and cooperation, but little progress has been made to improve dialogue and strengthen exchanges and cooperation.

The North's spokesman described Moon as an "impudent guy" who is "overcome with fright".

"His open talk about "dialogue" between the North and the South under such a situation raises a question as to whether he has proper thinking faculty", the spokesman said.

"In spite of a series of worrying actions taken by North Korea recently, the momentum for dialogue remains unshaken", Moon said in a speech marking Korea's independence from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

He said Moon had no standing to talk about engagement with the North because of the ongoing military maneuvers.

"Now is the time for both Koreas and the United States to focus on resuming working-level negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington at the earliest possible date".

Some analysts believe North Korea's latest provocation is meant to pressure Seoul into pushing cross-border economic ties and persuading Washington to make concessions in any future talks over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

Trump and Kim have met twice since their first summit in Singapore past year and said their countries will continue talks, but little progress has been made on the North's stated commitment on denuclearization.

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