US Open to Dialogue Despite N. Korea's Provocation

China holds air and sea drills as North Korea fires missiles again

Pyongyang fired three short-range ballistic missiles from the Kangwon province, the US Pacific Command said.

The U.S military initially reported that two of the missiles had failed but, according to its later assessment, one appears to have blown up nearly immediately while two flew about 250km (155 miles) in a north-easterly direction.

The missiles did not pose a threat to North America nor to the USA territory of Guam, said the Pacific Command.

South Korea's presidential office says North Korea has likely tested its 300-millimeter artillery rocket system in the latest launch detected off its eastern coast.

The launches coincide with joint exercises between the US and South Korean militaries, exercises that North Korea always strongly protests because it considers them preparation for an invasion.

The launches are believed to be North Korea's first test since the Fourth of July when it fired its first intercontinental ballistic test into the sea near Japan.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered production of more solid fuel rocket engines and missile warheads during a visit to a military science institute.

All three appeared to be short-range missiles, rather than the long-range types created to be able to strike the United States, and were launched from Kittaeryong on North Korea's east coast. It said South Korea and US militaries were analyzing the launch and didn't immediately provide more details.

Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese government's top spokesman, told reporters in Tokyo Saturday morning: "We confirmed that no ballistic missiles have fallen onto our country's territory or EEZ (exclusive economic zone)".

The North bombarded Yeonpyeong island in November 2010 in response to a South Korean live-fire drill near the tense sea border, killing four South Koreans - two soldiers and two civilians - and prompting Seoul to return the fire.

"Although the launches were no threat to Guam, it reminds us that we can not be complacent", said George Charfauros, the homeland security adviser on the United States territory. "We do view it as a provocative act, a provocative act against the United States and our allies".

The rival Koreas recently saw their always testy relationship get worse after Pyongyang and President Donald Trump traded warlike threats.

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