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N. Korea launches projectiles, but still wants to resume talks

The Associated Press

People watch a TV showing a file image of a North Korean missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul on Tuesday.

Reuters SEOUL (Reuters) — North Korea fired a new round of short-range projectiles on Tuesday, South Korean officials said, only hours after it signaled a new willingness to resume stalled denuclearization talks with the United States.

The launches were detected early in the morning by the South Korean military, which said they appeared to be short-range projectiles.

The launches came hours after Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in a statement carried by state media that North Korea was willing to have “comprehensive discussions” with the United States in late September at a time and place to be agreed.

Choe warned that the United States needed to present a new approach or the talks could fall apart again. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said she did not have any talks to announce at that time.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas in June and agreed to restart working-level negotiations that had been stalled since an unsuccessful second summit between the two leaders in Vietnam in February.

Since the DMZ meeting, however, American officials said their attempts to resume talks had gone unanswered. North Korea has also conducted at least eight test launches since then, usually with multiple missiles each time.

“All of these acts by North Korea that escalate tensions do not help efforts to ease tension on the Korean Peninsula, and we reiterate our calls for an immediate halt,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The U.S. special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, spoke by telephone with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Do-hoon, on Tuesday morning, South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Biegun has led working-level talks with North Korea. He discussed with Lee how to make substantive progress on denuclearization and peace, according to the ministry, which did not mention Choe’s comments or the latest launches.

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