North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un said Wednesday that the country’s ballistic missile test Tuesday was a “warning” to both South Korea and the United States.
Kim said the test was “an occasion to send an adequate warning to the joint military drill now underway by the U.S. and South Korean authorities,” Reutersreported, citing the state-operated Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Kim’s comments came a day after North Korea launched two missiles from the western airfield across the country to an area near Pyongyang and “precisely hit” an eastern island target, KCNA reported.
The news agency added that the tests “clearly verified the reliability, security and actual war capacity” of the country’s missiles.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday that the United States will not overreact to North Korea’s missile tests, according to Reuters.
The launch was the fourth test in just 13 days beginning on July 25.
Earlier in July, North Korea issued a different warning to South Korea and the United States, saying that if they failed to cancel a joint military drill scheduled to begin this week, the country would stall peace talks with Washington, The New York Times reported.
As an alternative to large-scale military drill procedures that were supposed to take place, the U.S. and South Korea kicked off their digital “alliance” exercises this week instead in an effort to encourage more peace talks with North Korea, according to Reuters.
South Korea Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Sang-min said North Korea’s recent tests do nothing to improve peace efforts. Lee also called for Pyongyang to uphold an inter-Korean agreement from 2018 to form a joint military committee.
“South Korea has agreed to pay substantially more money to the United States in order to defend itself from North Korea,” President Donald Trump wrote Wednesday on Twitter. “Over the past many decades, the U.S. has been paid very little by South Korea, but last year, at the request of President Trump, South Korea paid $990,000,000.”
“Talks have begun to further increase payments to the United States. South Korea is a very wealthy nation that now feels an obligation to contribute to the military defense provided by the United States of America. The relationship between the two countries is a very good one!” he continued.
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