North Korea says it tested new rocket system

South Koreans watch a reporting of North Korea's missile launch on July 31.

He was detected by thermal imaging equipment overnight, said South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC).

The unidentified man was an active-duty soldier who expressed interest in defecting to Seoul, said the JCS.

The latest launches were meant to put pressure on South Korea and the United States to stop upcoming military drills and came as diplomats criss-cross the region this week in the hope of restarting the talks.

Separately, Kono and Kang will hold a bilateral meeting Thursday on the sidelines of Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related foreign ministerial meetings in the Thai capital, according to South Korean Foreign Ministry officials.

South Korea's military said on Wednesday that two ballistic missiles had been fired from the Wonsan area on North Korea's east coast.

US national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday that Pyongyang's recent missile tests do not violate a pledge that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made to President Donald Trump, but Pyongyang had yet to say when working-level talks on denuclearization would resume.

The tests were a "warning" to South Korea over planned military exercises scheduled to take place with the United States later this month, North Korea said. -South Korea military exercises and the South's acquisition of advanced weapons systems such as F-35 fighter jets while also speeding up its weapons development before it gets deeper in nuclear negotiations with the United States, Lee said. USA officials have downplayed the threat of the launches to the United States and its allies. While the USA has been quiet about the launches at the UN, the U.K., France, and Germany requested a closed UN Security Council meeting, expected to take place on Thursday.

Japan, the United States and South Korea plan to hold a foreign ministerial meeting Friday in Bangkok, with Washington likely to play a mediating role in an effort to defuse tensions between the two key US allies, sources familiar with Tokyo-Seoul ties said Wednesday.

Analysts say North Korea with its consecutive weapons tests is demonstrating its displeasure with the pace of nuclear diplomacy with Washington. "That said, today's launches seem to track with the behavior North Korea has shown vis-a-vis the US over the past few months of escalating pressure without crossing the line".

By firing weapons that directly threaten South Korea but not the U.S. mainland or its Pacific territories, North Korea also appears to be testing how far Washington will tolerate its bellicosity without actually causing the nuclear negotiations to collapse, other experts said.

Last Thursday, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles that Seoul officials said flew 600 kilometres and as high as 50 kilometres before landing in the sea.

"The firing of these missiles don't violate the pledge that Kim Jong Un made to the president about intercontinental-range ballistic missiles", USA national security adviser John Bolton said in an interview with Fox Business News.

A summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam in February collapsed after they failed to reconcile differences between Washington's demands for Pyongyang's complete denuclearization and North Korean demands for relief of extensive worldwide sanctions.

It has also warned of a possible end to its freeze on nuclear and long-range missile tests in place since 2017, which Trump has repeatedly held up as evidence of the success of more than a year of engagement with Kim. Instead, North Korea's ambassador to Thailand is set to attend, all but ruling out the chances of a meeting.



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