North Korea on Friday launched two more ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, United States officials told CNN. These missile launches were also confirmed by Japan's defense ministry.
The missile launches were the seventh such missile tests in "less than a month," South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported. The firings also mark the ninth missile launches by North Korea since May.
In addition, they took place less than two months after Donald Trump met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at the Korean Demilitarized Zone on June 30, as The Inquisitr reported. During this meeting, the U.S. president accompanied Kim in stepping across the zone's demarcation line, officially entering North Korea. This is something that has never been done by any United States president, as taking that step is believed to be a symbolic act of legitimizing the North Korean regime.
On August 10, Trump posted a message to his Twitter account, claiming the Kim had promised "that this testing would stop when the exercises end," referring to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises which have been regular events since the end of the Korean War in 1953. But Trump has strongly criticized the joint maneuvers.
Trump in his August 10 tweet also claimed that in "a long letter," Kim apologized for the missile tests. But as Voice of America Seoul Bureau Chief William Gallo reported via Twitter, the joint exercises ended on Tuesday, three days before North Korea fired its latest pair of missiles on Friday.
The launches also came one day after North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho issued a statement boasting that the country remained "America's biggest threat," and declared Kim's government was "ready for dialogue or confrontation" with the U.S., Gallo reported via Twitter.
While the North Korean government has refrained from criticizing Trump directly since the first meeting between Trump and Kim in June of 2018, the foreign minister had scathing words for Trump administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday, according to an Associated Press report. This came after Pompeo said in an interview that the U.S. would maintain economic sanctions on North Korea as long as the country fails to get rid of its nuclear weapons program.
The foreign minister slammed Pompeo in his remarks as a "poisonous plant of American diplomacy" and claimed that Pompeo, during his most recent diplomatic visit to North Korea, had "begged" the country to denuclearize. He also called the U.S. position that sanctions will lead North Korea to denuclearize an "absurd dream."