Shortly after announcing possible nuclear talks with the US, Pyongyang has launched a missile test. A ballistic missile flew 450 kilometers to the east, according to the South Korean General Staff, and then crashed into the sea.
How many missiles it is, is still unclear. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government in Pyongyang fired two ballistic missiles at the start of the day. The second projectile apparently fell into waters within Japan's so-called exclusive economic zone. Abe condemned the recent launch of the rocket and said it was a violation of United Nations resolutions.
UN resolutions prohibit internationally isolated North Korea from launching ballistic missiles. Abe announced a meeting of Japan's National Security Council to discuss a response to the weapons test.
North Korea had fired multiple ballistic short-range missiles during tests in recent weeks. Only on Tuesday announced the government in Pyongyang then to want to resume nuclear talks with the United States. Vice-Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said that after a "first contact" on Friday, negotiations at the working level should resume on Saturday. A spokeswoman for the US State Department confirmed an early resumption of talks.
Already in the past, North Korea had tested weapons shortly after a call for talks. According to experts, the leadership in Pyongyang wants to increase the pressure on the other side.
Negotiations between the US and North Korea over denuclearization have not come for months. At a summit meeting in Hanoi in February, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had failed to agree on steps to bring nuclear disarmament to North Korea.
At the end of June, Trump and Kim met again in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. They agreed to a continuation of discussions at the working level.
New situation after dismissal Bolton
The release of Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton three weeks ago brought new thaw between Washington and Pyongyang. Bolton had argued for a particularly tough deal with North Korea and was repeatedly described by Pyongyang as a warmonger.
On Monday, Bolton warned on his first public appearance since his release that North Korea had no plans to abandon its nuclear arsenal. Rather, Kim wants to expand the arsenal.