N.Korea fires more missiles: Seoul
Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/31 22:44:24
Sends warning to S.Korea, US over joint drills: expert
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Wednesday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, less than a week after it launched similar missiles near the same area.
The moves are a stern warning to the joint military drills of the US and South Korea, according to an analyst.
"North Korea is warning the US and South Korea not to conduct joint military drills," Lü Chao, a research fellow on North Korea at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
"North Korea tried to persuade them [to stop military drills] with words, but it didn't seem to work," Lü noted.
The US and South Korea are scheduled to conduct Exercise Dong Maeng, or "Alliance," in August, the US Indo-Pacific Command said earlier this month.
The launches came after a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in June.
China hopes all parties could make positive efforts to promote denuclearization as well as long-term peace and stability, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday.
"We hope that all parties concerned will cherish the hard-won eased situation [on the Korean Peninsula] and jointly promote the denuclearization of the peninsula and the sustainable peace in the region," Hua said.
Pyongyang and Washington are engaged in a diplomatic process over the North's nuclear and missile programs, which has seen three high-profile meetings between the top leaders of the two countries in a year.
They agreed to resume talks during their impromptu June encounter in the DMZ, but working-level dialogue has yet to begin.
"If the US continues its maximum pressure on North Korea, Pyongyang is unlikely to begin the dialogue," Lü said. "North Korea will respond if the US eases its unilateral sanctions."
Trump said last week Pyongyang's missile firing was a warning to Seoul rather than Washington, as the short-range ballistic missiles are unable to reach US territories.
"He [Kim] didn't send a warning to the United States," Trump said. "The two of them have their disputes."
A planned meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho was shelved after Ri canceled his trip to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in Bangkok.
Pyongyang has warned that negotiations could be derailed by Washington and Seoul's refusal to scrap the annual maneuvers.
"South Korean authorities should stop harmful acts at once, be mindful that their reckless military provocations which rely on the US will divest them of the valuable opportunity to improve North-South relations," the official Korean Central News Agency said in a commentary in June.
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