North Korea says Kim oversaw rocket launch despite apology to Trump

Trump: Kim says missile testing will stop when U.S.-S.Korea joint drills end

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits an airfield in the western area of North Korea to watch its weapons demonstrations.

The South Korean military said North Korea's missile testing continued Saturday, with two projectiles launched from Hamhung, a coastal town northeast of Pyongyang, traveling 248 miles.

The two ballistic missiles flew around 400 km at an apogee of 48 km, a statement added, continuing that the "maximum speed was 6.1 Mach or more", a similar distance to the those fired on Tuesday.

This intent was apparently also made clear in a missive sent by Kim to Trump recently, which the U.S. President tweeted Saturday contained an interest in meeting to restart denuclearization negotiations once the joint exercises are concluded.

Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency.

KCNA reported Kim as saying that the new weapon "has advantageous tactical character different to the existing weapon systems".

Trump's comments partly contradicted South Korea's analysis of the missiles North Korea has launched in recent weeks.

-South Korea military exercises are "ridiculous and expensive" in spite of repeated missile provocations by North Korea.

The allies have scaled down their major military exercises since the first summit between Mr Kim and Mr Trump in June 2018 in Singapore created space for diplomacy.

"It is a miscalculation if they think that the very change of the name of the exercise can alter its aggressive nature or that we would make it pass off quietly", KCNA quoted a senior foreign ministry official as saying. Notably, the UN Security Council has banned North Korea from developing its ballistic missile programme. That's according to a statement released on Sunday morning, by a senior North Korean foreign ministry official in charge of USA affairs.

[Trump] says he's looking "forward to seeing Kim Jong Un in the not too distant future!"

Trump, who has repeatedly praised Kim since their recent face-to-face meetings, has offered to help North Korea economically if it gives up its nuclear weapons program.

Trump tweeted that in his letter, Kim complained about the exercises, but apologized for the tests and wrote that they will cease when the exercises stop.

Seoul said it expects further missile firings in the coming weeks.

At the time, President Trump anticipated that he will have more talks with North Korea to end the ongoing nuclear standoff.

The fifth round of weapons launches in less than three weeks is seen as a protest of the slow pace of nuclear talks and continuance of the joint military drills, as well as a bid to pressure Seoul to try harder to coax major concessions from the U.S. on Pyongyang's behalf.

In a statement released through KCNA, Kwon Jong Gun, director of the US affairs department at Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry, criticized South Korea for raising concerns over the North's recent testing activity while continuing the drills with the U.S.



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