North Korea has fired unidentified projectiles into the sea. The launch came just hours after a senior North Korean official offered to restart stalled denuclearization talks with the United States.
North Korea fired two "unidentified projectiles" from a launch site near Pyongyang into the sea off the country's east coast, South Korea's military said Tuesday.
The launches were North Korea's eighth round since late July, and came just hours after Pyongyang offered to resume talks on its nuclear weapons program with the United States.
On Monday night, North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said that the country would be willing to resume nuclear diplomacy with Washington later in September. But he warned that the United States must bring new proposals to the table or risk negotiations coming to an end. The time frame suggested by North Korea would coincide with the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
Choe said that if the United States "fiddle around again with the worn-out scenario," it could be the end of stalled talks.
US President Donald Trump called North Korea's statement "interesting."
"We'll see what happens," Trump said. "In the meantime ... we've had no nuclear testing for a long time."
Denuclearization talks stalled
North Korea wants security guarantees and relief from international sanctions in return for limited denuclearization. The United States and its allies demand that North Korea completely end its nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Experts say the missile tests help North Korea develop its military technology but are also intended to send diplomatic signals to Washington.
Negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have not advanced since a second summit between the North's leader Kim Jong Un and Trump in February failed to produce a deal.
Trump and Kim agreed to resume talks at an impromptu meeting in June at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, but the negotiations have not materialized.
North Korea's 'standard' missiles
The South Korean military did not release details about whether the projectile fired on Tuesday was a ballistic missile or an artillery rocket. The previous seven launches were identified as short-range missiles.
"We are aware of reports of projectiles launched from North Korea," a senior US official said Tuesday. "We are continuing to monitor the situation and consulting closely with our allies in the region."
Trump had previously dismissed such short-range missile tests as "standard," even though they could pose a threat to US allies and military bases. North Korea is banned from conducting ballistic missile tests under multiple UN Security Council resolutions.
"I'm not happy about it, but then again he's not in violation of the agreement," Trump said last month, referring to an informal agreement whereby North Korea reportedly committed not to test intercontinental ballistic missiles.
A UN report released in August said that North Korea is continuing its nuclear weapons program while evading sanctions.
wmr,cw (AP, AFP, dpa)