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N.Korea tests ballistic missiles amid deadlocked nuclear talks

file photo: north korea test fires long range cruise missile

North Korea fired a pair of ballistic missiles off its east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday, days after testing a long-range cruise missile.

Pyongyang has been steadily developing its weapons programme amid a standoff over talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in return for U.S. sanctions relief. The negotiations have stalled since 2019.

Japan’s Coast Guard also said an object that could be a ballistic missile was fired from North Korea that landed outside it exclusive economic zone.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga condemned the apparent test launch and called it “outrageous”.

Both Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened sessions of their national security councils to discuss the launches, according to their offices.

The foreign ministers of South Korea and China were holding talks in Seoul on Wednesday amid concerns over North Korea’s recent missile test and stalled denuclearisation negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington.

If confirmed as a ballistic missile, the test would be North Korea’s first since March this year and a further breach of U.N. sanctions.

The launch came after North Korea said it successfully tested a new long-range cruise missile last weekend, calling it “a strategic weapon of great significance.” Analysts say the missile could be the country’s first such weapon with a nuclear capability.


TIMELINE: North Korea’s missile tests and its foreign relations over the past few years.

2017

July 4 – North Korea test-fires the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

July 28 – North Korea conducts another Hwasong-14 ICBM test.

Aug. 8 – U.S. President Donald Trump warns North Korea might face “fire and fury”.

Aug. 29 – North Korea fires Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM).

Sept. 3 – North Korea carries out its sixth nuclear test, saying it has mastered hydrogen bomb technology.

Sept. 14 – North Korea fires a Hwasong-12 IRBM.

Sept. 19 – Trump threatens to “totally destroy” North Korea.

Sept. 21 – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called Trump as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard”.

Sept. 23 – U.S. B-1B bomber flies over the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

Nov. 29 – North Korea test-fires Hwasong-15 ICBM, capable of reaching the entire United States, and declares it has become a nuclear power.

2018

Feb. 25 – North Korean official Kim Yong Chol expresses willingness for U.S. talks while visiting South Korea for the Winter Olympics.

March 8 – South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s envoy delivers Kim’s invitation for Trump to visit North Korea; Trump agrees to meet Kim.

April 27 – North Korea’s Kim and South Korean President Moon meet for first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade, pledging to work for “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”. They meet again in May and September.

May 10 – Trump announces a June 12 summit with Kim in Singapore.

June 12 – Kim, Trump hold their first summit, in Singapore, agreeing to denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula in exchange for U.S. security guarantees.

June 19 – South Korea, U.S. announce suspension of joint military exercises.

July 27 – North Korea returns remains of 55 U.S. soldiers

Sept. 9 – North Korea displays floats and flowers but no long-range missiles at military parade.

Sept. 10 – White House unveils Kim’s proposal for second summit.

Nov. 16 – Kim guides test of “cutting-edge tactical weapon”.

2019

Jan. 1 Kim says he’s ready to meet Trump but warns of taking new path.

Feb. 28 Trump and Kim end their second summit in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi without an agreement due to differences over demands by Pyongyang for sanctions relief and by Washington for North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons.

May 4 – Kim supervises tests of rockets and a new short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) in first such tests since the November 2017 ICBM launch.

May 9 – North Korea fires two KN-23 SRBMs

May 10 – Trump said he did not consider the North’s missile tests “breach of trust,” calling it “standard stuff”.

June 30 – Trump and Kim meet for the third time in DMZ on the Korean peninsula.

July 23 – Kim inspects a large, new submarine, possibly designed for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).

July 25, 31 – North Korea launches KN-23 SRBMs.

Aug. 2 – North Korea fires two more KN-23 SRBMs; Trump says the tests do not violate his agreement with Kim.

Aug. 6, 10, 16 – North Korea fires more KN-23 and tactical missiles.

Aug. 24 – Kim oversees the test of a new “super-large” multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).

Sept. 10 – North Korea tests “super-large” MLRS.

Oct. 2 – North Korea test-fires new Pukguksong-3 SLBMs.

Oct. 21 – Trump says Kim and he get along well and “like” and “respect” each other.

Oct. 31 – North Korea tests the “super-large” MLRS.

Dec. 3 – North Korea says it is up to U.S. to decide what “Christmas gift” it wants.

2020

Jan. 1 – Kim vows to further develop nuclear programmes and introduce a “new strategic weapon”.

March 3, 9, 14 – North Korea tests MLRS and short-range missiles.

March 21 – Kim supervises test of new tactical guided weapon; Trump sends letter to Kim offering help on the new coronavirus.

March 29 – North Korea tests “super-large” MLRS.

Oct. 3 – Kim sends a get-well message to Trump who tested positive for COVID-19.

Oct. 10 – North Korea unveils a new ICBM and SLBM at military parade.

Oct. 22 – Trump says he has a very good relationship with Kim and stopped war; Biden likens Kim to Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and calls him a “thug”.

2021

March 21 – North Korea fires two short-range cruise missiles but the United States plays down the first such tests under President Joe Biden and said it was still open to dialogue.

Sept. 13 – North Korea carried out successful tests of a new long-range cruise missile over the weekend, state media said, seen by analysts as possibly the country’s first such weapon with a nuclear capability.

Sept. 15 – North Korea fired a pair of ballistic missiles off its east coast, South Korea’s military said, ratcheting up tensions just days after testing a cruise missile with possible nuclear capabilities.

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