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تاريخ التسجيل: Jun 2019
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افتراضي Hours After Agreeing to Resume Talks, North Korea Launches Projectile

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea launched a projectile toward the Sea of Japan early Wednesday, just hours after announcing it had agreed to resume long-stalled talks with the United States over its nuclear weapons program.
The projectile was launched from near Wonsan, a city east of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, the South Korean military said in a statement. It gave no further details, such as the type of weapon fired or how far it flew.
The launching was the ninth time North Korea has tested ballistic missiles or other projectiles since late July, and was its first weapons test since Sept. 10, when it fired what it called two super-large caliber rockets.
Only a day earlier, officials in North Korea and the United States said they had agreed to resume long-stalled official talks this weekend over the nuclear program — the first substantive discussions since a summit meeting failed in February.


The developments came amid warnings from President Trump’s former national security adviser that the North has no intention of eliminating its nuclear weapons program.
Wednesday’s test was the first time a North Korean projectile landed in Japanese waters in nearly two years, evoking memories of a time when the public was awakened to alarms warning of potential missile landings in Japanese territory. The launch also comes as Japan and South Korea are at odds, and as the South plans to withdraw from an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan.
The announcement from Pyongyang on resumed talks with the United States, scheduled for this weekend, did not specify who from the North would attend or where they talks would be convened.
Choe Son-hui, first vice foreign minister of North Korea, said her government and Washington had agreed to hold preliminary contact on Friday, to be followed by official, working-level negotiations on Saturday.
The State Department confirmed the meeting, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had hinted in recent weeks was coming soon.


“I can confirm that U.S. and D.P.R.K. officials plan to meet within the next week,â€‌ Morgan Ortagus, a State Department spokeswoman, told reporters, using the abbreviation for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. She said she had no details.
The recent history of such meetings has not been promising. President Trump began leader-to-leader meetings with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, precisely because decades of lower-level meetings had resulted in temporary breakthroughs at best, while the North’s nuclear and missile arsenals grew.
But 16 months after Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim reached a vague agreement to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula — words that mean very different things in Pyongyang and Washington — the North Korean arsenal has steadily expanded, even in the absence of nuclear and intercontinental missile tests.
The talks this weekend would be the first since a summit meeting in Hanoi failed, when the United States rejected Mr. Kim’s offer to close his core nuclear site in return for the lifting of the most onerous American sanctions.
Behind the scenes, American officials have struggled to come up with new proposals, including some that would take a more step-by-step approach to North Korean disarmament, rather than the rapid action that Mr. Trump said he would accomplish when he first came to office.
Among the ideas the State Department is exploring is some kind of temporary “nuclear freezeâ€‌ that would keep Mr. Kim from continuing to expand his arsenal, now estimated at 30 to 60 weapons and a more accurate, maneuverable collection of missiles. The State Department’s special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, pushed back on a New York Times report in late June describing this new approach, calling it speculation, but he and other officials have said little about what they plan to offer.
Mr. Trump has promised to use a “new methodâ€‌ in negotiations, though he has never said what it would look like.


A senior American diplomat said that part of the challenge was to keep the resumed dialogue from becoming a device for the North to further delay the process by creating just enough progress for Mr. Trump to press for a third summit meeting. That was implicit in a warning from Mr. Trump’s recently dismissed national security adviser, John R. Bolton, delivered in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Monday.
“Time works against those who oppose nuclear proliferation,â€‌ Mr. Bolton said. “A relaxed attitude to time is a benefit to the likes of North Korea and Iran.â€‌
Mr. Trump, in contrast, has said there is “no rushâ€‌ to reach an agreement. That was one of several issues — others involved Iran — that led to the split between the two men.
North Korean officials have repeatedly indicated their willingness to resume talks with Washington in recent weeks, praising the removal of Mr. Bolton as a “wise political decision.â€‌ They have long blamed hawkish aides to Mr. Trump, including Mr. Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for the stalemate in negotiations.
When Mr. Trump held his first summit meeting with Mr. Kim, in Singapore in June 2018, the North Korean leader committed to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,â€‌ in return for better ties with and security guarantees from the United States.
But subsequent talks quickly stalled over how to enact the vague agreement. The second meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim, in Hanoi, ended without a deal on how fast and how thoroughly North Korea should dismantle its nuclear program and how soon the United States would start easing or lifting sanctions.
On Tuesday, South Korea welcomed the agreement to resume dialogue.
“We hope that both sides will use these working-level talks to make quick and concrete progress for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a permanent peace there,â€‌ said Ko Min-jung, a spokeswoman for President Moon Jae-in of South Korea.


One debate inside the Trump administration is whether to build on Mr. Kim’s Hanoi proposal, by redefining and expanding the scope of facilities that North Korea would begin to dismantle in a phased rollback of his country’s nuclear program.
His Hanoi offer was to dismantle the facilities at Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, where the regime enriches uranium and produces plutonium. But he did not offer to give up any existing atomic weapons or missiles.
In return, he demanded that the United States lift the most biting of United Nations sanctions imposed since 2016, including a ban on crucial North Korean exports like coal, iron ore, fish and textiles.
Since the Hanoi talks collapsed, North Korea has threatened to abandon diplomacy completely unless Washington returns to the negotiating table with a more flexible offer by the end of the year. The North has escalated its pressure by conducting a slew of short-range weapons tests since July.
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