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North Korea fires two short-range missiles toward the East Sea North Korea fires two short-range missiles toward the East Sea  (ANSA)

North Korea conducts second missile test in a week

North Korea on Wednesday fired 2 short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast, its second test in less than a week. Analysts say the move could be aimed at piling more pressure on the US as officials scramble for a breakthrough in stalled nuclear talks.

By Linda Bordoni

A South Korean statement said the missiles, launched from the city of Wonsan,  are believed to have flown about 250 kilometers at a maximum altitude of 30 kilometers  and that South Korean and U.S. militaries were trying to gather more details.

The test would be yet another North Korean violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and comes as the country's negotiations with the U.S. over its nuclear weapons programme are at a stalemate.

The tests follow a similar launch six days ago of a missile that North Korea called “a new type tactical guided weapon aimed at better evading interception by flying at a lower altitude”.

‘Solemn warning’

According to North Korean state media, that test was personally supervised by leader Kim Jong Un and was designed to deliver a "solemn warning" to the South Korean military as it gears up for military exercises with the U.S scheduled to take place in August.

Earlier last week, Kim reportedly also visited a newly built submarine and expressed his satisfaction with its weapons system.

Kim has met three times with US President Donald Trump. At their second meeting, in Vietnam, Trump rejected Kim's demand for widespread sanctions relief in return for dismantling the North's main nuclear complex. But meeting again in the Korean Peninsula’s Demilitarized Zone in June, the two men agreed to set up teams to restart talks.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis praised that meeting between the U.S. and North Korean leaders saying he hoped it would lead to peace and describing it as a significant gesture for the good of the whole world.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials have downplayed the significance of today’s tests, saying efforts to resume talks, remain on track.

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31 July 2019, 15:44