N Korea fires ‘projectile’ as US envoy visits South
North Korea welcomed a US envoy’s visit to Seoul by firing at least one projectile for the second time in a week yesterday, the South’s military said, as Pyongyang seeks to up the ante in deadlocked nuclear negotiations with Washington.
The launch came after North Korea carried out a military drill and fired multiple projectiles on Saturday, with at least one believed to be a short-range missile.
It was also hours after the US Special Representative on North Korea, Stephen Biegun, arrived in Seoul late Wednesday for talks with South Korean officials on the allies’ approach towards Pyongyang.
It is Biegun’s first visit to Seoul since the Hanoi summit between US President Donald Trump and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un collapsed without agreement on rolling back Pyongyang’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
“We are still analysing whether it is a single or multiple projectiles,” Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Kim Joon-rak told AFP, adding the launch fired in an eastward direction appeared to originate from Sino-ri in North Pyongan province.
The decades-old Sino-ri operational missile base, 75 kilometres (45 miles) northwest of Pyongyang, is one of North Korea’s longest-running missile facilities and houses a regiment-sized unit equipped with Nodong-1 medium-range ballistic missiles, according to the Centre for Strategic & International Studies.
Anything fired from it in an easterly direction would have to cross the Korean peninsula before reaching the sea.
Biegun met his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon for breakfast yesterday but much of his schedule was not made public.