North Korea ramps up show of weapons

The projectiles were reportedly launched from an area near the North's western coast.
The projectiles were reportedly launched from an area near the North's western coast. Photo credit: Reuters

North Korea has ramped up its weapons demonstrations by firing unidentified projectiles twice into the sea while lashing out at the US and South Korea for continuing joint military exercises Pyongyang says could derail nuclear diplomacy.

South Korea's military alerted reporters on the launches just minutes before an unidentified spokesperson of the North's Foreign Ministry released a statement denouncing Washington and Seoul over the start of their joint exercises on Monday (local time).

The statement said the drills leave the North "compelled to develop, test and deploy the powerful physical means essential for national defence."

The North's spokesperson said Pyongyang remains committed to dialogue, but it could seek a "new road" if the allies don't change their positions.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles were launched from an area near the North's western coast and flew cross-country before landing in waters off the country's eastern coast.

It didn't immediately say how many projectiles were fired or how far they flew.

The North last week conducted two test-firings of what it described as a new rocket artillery system and conducted a short-range ballistic missile launch on July 25, which it described as a "solemn warning" to South Korea over its plans to continue military drills with the United States.

The North insists even downsized drills violate agreements between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, who in Singapore vowed to improve bilateral ties and issued a vague statement on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.

Nuclear negotiations have been at a standstill since the collapse of the second Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam in February over disagreements in exchanging sanctions relief and disarmament.