North Korea fires missiles, derides South Korea's Moon as 'impudent'

South Korea President Moon Jae-in

Pyongyang has recently rebuffed Seoul, saying nuclear talks will be "strictly" between the North and the U.S. and refusing to hold separate dialogue with the South.

Pyongyang called South Korea's president "impudent" and added that inter-Korean talks were over. US and South Korean officials said the two weapons fired were short-range ballistic missiles.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, on his first tour of Asia, said during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo that North Korea remained of great concern.

The weapons the North tested in recent weeks included a new rocket artillery system and what security analysts say are two new short-range mobile ballistic missile systems that would potentially expand its ability to strike targets throughout South Korea, including USA bases there.

The North has protested against joint U.S.

In his liberation day address on Thursday, Moon said he envisioned a future of close economic cooperation, denuclearisation and the unification of the two Koreas by 2045 - a century after the peninsula was liberated from Japanese colonial rule. But little progress has been made to improve talks between them and strengthen co-operation.

The North, which had halted missile tests since November 2017, began launching projectile weapons, including short-range ballistic missiles, from May 4.

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A spokesperson for North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country called Moon's remarks "foolish" and "reckless" in a statement published in the country's state-run media Friday. Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have met three times since April past year pledging peace and cooperation but little progress has been made to improve dialogue and strengthen exchange and cooperation.

The launches have complicated attempts to restart talks between USA and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

The statement also criticized South Korea's recent acquisition of advanced US -made fighter jets and said it would be "senseless" for Moon to believe that inter-Korean dialogue will automatically begin after the end of the ongoing U.S. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff did not immediately say what the weapons were or how far they flew.

"We have nothing to talk any more with the south Korean authorities nor have any idea to sit with them again", it added. -South Korea drills were a sign of Seoul's hostility towards the North.

Friday's launches were North Korea's sixth round of tests since late July, when it stepped up its weapons demonstrations while expressing frustration over stalemated nuclear negotiations with the United States as well as the U.S.

"They are basically asking for pretext for the North to come out and have inter-Korean talks and save its face", Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, told South Korea's Yonhap news agency. Moon has played down the North's recent tests, even suggesting potential inter-Korean economic projects as a way to tackle the South's ongoing trade row with Japan, prompting critics to accuse him of having a "peace fantasy". He said the United States wanted to see North Korea make a "clear strategic decision to give up its nuclear weapons and its delivery systems", and then implement that decision.

Trump and Kim have met twice since their first summit in Singapore past year and said their countries will continue talks, but little progress has been made on the North's stated commitment on denuclearization.

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