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The new round of weapons testing comes 18-month since North Korea last fired a nuclear-capable missile on November 28, 2017. Then the US revealed that it seized a North Korean cargo ship, used to export coal in violation of economic sanctions.

North Korea also tested several short-range missiles on Saturday May 4.

According to the report, Kim stressed the need to further increase the capability of the defense units "to carry out combat tasks and keep full combat posture to cope with any emergency" as required by the prevailing situation.

The official Korean Central News Agency reported the following day that Kim himself supervised the latest missile test, the second since breaking a 522-day pause on such activities earlier this week.

North Korea on Friday said it conducted long-range missile drills from the western military units under the command of "Senior leader", apparently referring to Kim Jong-un.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the U.S. was looking very seriously at the DPRK's latest missile launch. "They were smaller missiles, short-range missiles", Trump said.

But one of the two projectiles it launched from Kusong, 160 kilometers northwest of the capital, Thursday traveled more than 400km before splashing into the East Sea, he added.

The U.S. says the North Korea military fired thee missiles on Thursday, the second missile launch in a week.

At the end of 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced that his nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile programs were complete, and, indeed, no nuclear or ICBM tests have been conducted by the hardline state since then.

The ship, in what USA officials say was a clear act of concealment, also turned off an automatic signal system meant to alert other ships of its course and location.

The parliamentary defense committee chief said at a press briefing that the DPRK's projectile launches seemed to be aimed at giving signals to both ROK and the United States.

A separate statement by a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman described the launches as a "routine and self-defensive military drill". But the United Nations Security Council, which has imposed steadily tighter sanctions on North Korea, has demanded Pyongyang cease any launches that use ballistic missile technology.

On that day, Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Kookmin University in Seoul, predicted to Asia Times that - absent a U.S. response - North Korea would likely unleash a series of calibrated provocations. "I know they want to negotiate, they're talking about negotiating, but I don't think they are ready to negotiate". "It suggests some sort of a missile launch", he said.

North Korea last conducted a major missile test in November 2017 when it flight-tested the Hwasong-15 and demonstrated the potential capability to reach deep into the USA mainland.

United States President Donald Trump said that "nobody's happy" after North Korea raised the pressure over the future of their deadlocked nuclear negotiations by launching two short-range missiles.

North Korea last conducted a major missile test in November 2017 when it flight-tested the Hwasong-15, which demonstrated the potential capability to reach deep into the USA mainland.


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