North Korea says latest test was 'new weapon'

North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency released several

North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency released several

Intelligence chiefs from both North Korea and South Korea held a secret meeting in April after the no-deal summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi in February, local media reported on Tuesday.

If Kim's missive to Trump is to be believed, remonstrations about the joint drills could be meant to justify the North's weapons tests before talks with Washington resume, potentially when the military exercise finishes at the end of this month.

Per the BBC, Saturday, South Korean officials reported that North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles from the city of Hamhung.

The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried several photos showing a broadly grinning Kim surrounded by his aides as he observed the test.

The South's Blue House said it concluded the North's latest test was a military provocation meant to protest the drills, just as it had done four days earlier with a test last Tuesday and three more launches in earlier weeks.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said by appealing directly to Trump, Kim was "trying to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul" as Pyongyang seeks to break the alliance.

"It was a long letter, much of it complaining about the ridiculous and expensive exercises".

Meanwhile, the US and South Korea started the second part of their joint military exercises on Sunday focusing on testing South Korea's ability to assume wartime operational control of its troops.

Trump said Kim promised the testing would stop when the exercises end. "It was also a small apology for testing the short range missiles".

"I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un in the not too distant future!"

Trump has appeared determined to secure a denuclearisation agreement with North Korea ahead of next year's U.S. presidential elections, despite a breakdown in talks since he first met Kim in a historic summit in Singapore in June 2018.

In his tweets Saturday, Trump said North Korea's recent flurry of missile testing has been in response to U.S.

The pair last met in late June for brief talks in the Demilitarised Zone separating the two Koreas - and Trump became the first sitting United States president ever to step inside the North.

A top official from Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry, director-general of the Department of American Affairs Kwon Jong-gun, also released a statement to KCNA on Sunday ruling out inter-Korean contact until Seoul made a "plausible excuse or explanation in a honest manner for conducting the military exercise".

"Given that the military exercise clearly puts us as an enemy in its concept ... an inter-Korean contact itself will be hard to be made unless they put an end to such a military exercise or before they make a plausible excuse" for the drills, Kwon Jong-gun, the ministry's director-general of the department of American affairs, was quoted as saying.

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