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North Korea fires projectile toward eastern sea

SEOUL, South Korea

North Korea fired an unidentified projectile off its East Coast on Wednesday, South Korea’s military said, two days after the North claimed to possess tested a replacement missile in its first weapons test in six months.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of  Staff said during a statement the North Korean projectile flew toward the waters of the Korean Peninsula’s East Coast on Wednesday. It gave no further details, and it wasn’t clear what the projectile was.

North Korea said Monday it tested a newly developed aircraft twice over the weekend. North Korea’s state media described the missile as a “strategic weapon of great significance,” implying they were developed with the intent to arm them with nuclear warheads.

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Many experts say the North Korea n test suggested North Korea is pushing to bolster its weapons arsenal amid a deadlock in nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington.

The latest launch came as Chinese secretary of state Wang Yi was in Seoul for meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and other senior officials to debate the stalled nuclear diplomacy with the North.

Talks between us and North Korea have stalled since 2019 when the Americans rejected the North’s demand for major sanctions relief in exchange for dismantling an aging nuclear facility. Kim’s government has thus far rejected the Biden administration’s overtures for dialogue, demanding that Washington abandon its “hostile” policies first.

The North’s resumption of testing activity is probably going an effort at pressuring the Biden administration over the diplomatic freeze after Kim did not leverage his arsenal for economic benefits during the presidency of Donald Trump.

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