North Korea on Saturday launched two ballistic missiles off its east coast, threatening the prospects of denuclearization talks between the isolated Asian country and the United States. The launches come one day after Pyongyang called U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a "poisonous plant" of U.S. diplomacy.
The U.S. and North Korea have been engaged in a series of negotiations, where North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for reduced sanctions. North Korea had felt threatened due to joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises and allegedly promised Trump that the launches would cease once the exercises are over.
Now, the U.S.-South Korea joint exercises have concluded, yet Pyongyang continues to launch the missiles. President Trump, who has called Kim Jong Un "a friend," said Friday that Kim "likes testing missiles" and has said that the two leaders never agreed to limit short-range missile tests.
Although Trump and Kim have met on North Korean soil at the end of June and exchanged friendly letters with one another.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri-Yong-ho said that Pompeo casts "long shadows" over denuclearization talks and that he employs "hackneyed sanctions rhetoric." The North Korean government supposedly wants a "more mature person" from the U.S. for the negotiations.
President Trump has had a turbulent relationship with Kim. In September 2017, Trump called Kim "rocket man" in front of the United Nations General Assembly, with Kim then saying that Trump is "mentally deranged."
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