The Washington Post reported that North Korea launched two short-range missiles on July 25 for the first time since last month’s Panmunjom meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and one week after the North’s warning message regarding U.S.-ROK joint military exercises.
“It is still unclear whether the North’s provocation immediately preceding working-level nuclear disarmament negotiations is to refuse to resume the negotiations or to get the upper hand in the negotiations,” the newspaper said, adding, “It seems that the provocation is to test the patience of the U.S. president, who has praised himself about the North having stopped launching missiles.”
Earlier, on July 16, North Korea mentioned the U.S. and ROK Armies’ 19-2 Dong Maeng command post exercise scheduled for next month and said that the United States is unilaterally breaking its promises. Previously, the North launched missiles on two different occasions in early May this year after the second U.S.-North Korea summit failed.
Under the circumstances, it is said that the U.S. president’s patience is getting thin. North Korea is currently linking the military exercise scheduled for next month to resumption of negotiations with Washington and the North may make more provocative moves in order to object to the exercise.
The U.S. president is scheduled to visit the United States Department of Defense in the morning of July 26 to welcome the new Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Much attention is being paid to whether he will leave a comment on the missiles.