TOKYO (AP) — A day after two North Korean missile launches rattled Asia, the nation said Friday it had tested a “new-type tactical guided weapon” that was meant as a “solemn warning” about South Korean weapons development and its plan to hold military exercises.
The message, which was carried on state media and released in the name of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was directed at “South Korean military warmongers” and came as U.S. and North Korean officials struggle to set up talks after a recent meeting on the Korean border between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump seemed to provide a breakthrough in stalled nuclear negotiations.
Although the North had harsh words for South Korea, the statement stayed away from the kind of belligerent attacks on the United States that have marked past announcements, a possible signal that the North is interested in keeping diplomacy alive.
It made clear, however, that North Korea is infuriated over U.S.-South Korean plans to hold military drills that the North says are invasion rehearsals and proof of the allies’ hostility to Pyongyang.
It was also gloating at times, saying that the test “must have given uneasiness and agony to some targeted forces enough as it intended.”
The North’s firing of a new type of short-range ballistic missile in two launches into the sea Thursday was its first weapons launches in more than two months.
The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles were fired from near the eastern coastal town of Wonsan and flew about 430 kilometers (270 miles) and 690 kilometers (430 miles) respectively before landing off the country’s east coast.