December 09, 2019 09:31
North Korea on Saturday resumed testing of long-range missile components in a clear shot across the bow of the U.S. as a year-end deadline to resume nuclear talks looms.
State media said North Korea conducted a "very important test" at a test site for intercontinental ballistic missiles in Tongchang-ri near the Chinese border. The official [North] Korean Central News Agency added the unspecified test's results "will have an important effect on changing the strategic position of [North Korea] once again in the near future."
It came just a few hours after U.S. President Donald Trump called his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in on Saturday morning to discuss the latest situation on the Korean Peninsula.
The test effectively ends a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests that Trump had touted as a major achievement in his dealings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Pundits speculate that it was an liquid-fuel engine test.
North Korea's UN Ambassador Kim Song on Sunday further dashed Trump's hopes by saying that "denuclearization is already gone out of the negotiating table."
Trump tried to downplay the warnings. "I'd be surprised if North Korea acted hostilely," he told reporters. Kim "knows I have an election coming up. I don't think he wants to interfere with that. But we'll have to see."
"Kim Jong-un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way," Trump warned on Twitter the same day.
Nam Joo-hong, a former National Intelligence Service official, said, "The present situation demonstrates that the denuclearization talks over the last year and a half were just a charade."
North Korea last tested a nuclear weapon in September and an intercontinental ballistic missile in November the same year.
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