North Korea is announcing a new round of weapons testing. On Sunday, North Korean media confirmed the regime conducted what it called “a very important test” at one of the country’s satellite launching grounds on Saturday.
Officials are speculating the test likely involved an intercontinental missile, which may be capable of striking from long distances, or an engine to launch satellites into space. However, North Korean officials have not disclosed the exact nature of the test.
This comes just after North Korea announced further talks with the U.S. were reportedly pointless and vowed to find a new path for negotiations if sanctions were not lifted.
On Saturday, North Korea’s Ambassador to the UN Kim Song announced denuclearization talks with the U.S. are off the table. Pyongyang released a statement, which said, “We do not need to have long talks with the U.S.” Song went further by saying the United States has consistently adopted a “hostile policy” towards North Korea and only negotiates for America’s own gain politically.
President Trump has brushed off concerns of a nuclear confrontation with North Korea. On Sunday, he said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is “too smart and has far too much to lose…if he acts in a hostile way.” He also pointed out Kim signed a “strong denuclearization agreement” with him in Singapore and “does not want to void his special relationship” with the president.
Earlier in the week, President Trump said that his relationship with the foreign leader is good and that he hopes Kim Jong-un will abide by their original agreement to denuclearize.
“You know, my relationship with Kim Jong-un is really good, but that doesn’t mean he won’t abide by the agreement we signed. You have to understand, you have to go look at the first agreement that we signed. It said he will denuclearize. That’s what it said. I hope he lives up to the agreement, but we’re going to find out.”
— Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
The president said Pyongyang has “tremendous economic potential” under Kim, but insisted “it must denuclearize, as promised.”
This latest development also came after Pyongyang announced a year-end deadline for talks to resume with the U.S.
U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun responded by saying the deadline is self-imposed and bears no resemblance to actual negotiations.
“We do not have a yearend deadline. We’ve been at this for 25 years and we will be at this as long as it takes. That’s an artificial deadline set by the North Koreans, and unfortunately, it’s a deadline they’ve set upon themselves now.” – Stephen Biegun, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea