North Korea says recent rocket drill was 'routine and self-defensive' - KCNA

Erika Holt
May 10, 2019

The Pentagon believes the series of projectiles fired from North Korea's eastern coast into the sea Saturday included a new type of short-range ballistic missile.

The comments came a day after South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump held a half-hour telephone conversation, during which they expressed support for helping North Korea deal with a food shortage crisis.

North Korea's "strike drill" last week at which leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the launch of rockets and at least one short-range ballistic missile was "regular and self-defensive", the country's foreign ministry said yesterday.

Neither the USA, nor South Korea have confirmed that North Korea fired a ballistic missile, which would be in violation of global agreements and complicate their current detente with Pyongyang.

But Lewis adds that regardless of where North Korea drew its inspiration, this new missile is indeed something bigger and better than anything it had in the past.

Asked by reporters in April whether he was prepared to ease some sanctions on North Korea, Trump said he and Moon were discussing "certain humanitarian things" and the possibility of South Korea helping North Korea with food.

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The May 4 test was likely meant to send a message to South Korea, says Jenny Town, a fellow at the Stimson Center and managing editor of the website 38 North.

Anchor: The White House said on Wednesday that the USA won't "intervene" if South Korea decides to send food aid to North Korea. After Moon took office in 2017, South Korea approved an $8 million economic assistance package through United Nations agencies, but it did not go to North Korea due to worldwide sanctions.

The spokesperson complained said there was a double standard, with South Korea and the United States carrying out military drills with little criticism.

Cheong Wa Dae claimed Trump "said humanitarian food aid to North Korea by [South] Korea is timely and will be a positive move". "We think this is very much unpleasant and regrettable, and we sound a note of warning".

North Korea had maintained a freeze in nuclear and ballistic missiles testing in place since 2017, a fact Trump has repeatedly pointed to as an important achievement from his engagement with Pyongyang.

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