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North Korea launches two 'projectiles' into the sea

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The August drills were scaled down earlier this year and have not been officially named

North Korea has continued to ramp up its weapons demonstrations by firing unidentified projectiles twice into the sea while lashing out at the United States and South Korea for continuing their joint military exercises the North says could derail fragile nuclear diplomacy.

The North insists even the downsized drills violate agreements between Mr Kim and Mr Trump, who in Singapore vowed to improve bilateral ties and issued a vague statement on a nuclear-free Korean peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.

In a statement, the North's foreign ministry accused the two allies of "playing all sorts of tricks" to justify the military exercises and said their "aggressive nature" could not be covered up.

"We call upon all responsible states to take action to counter North Korea's ability to conduct malicious cyber activity, which generates revenue that supports its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs".

What were the earlier launches?

North Korea carried out its fourth missile test in 12 days Tuesday as the Hermit Kingdom lashed out at the United States and South Korea for holding joint military drills.

The missiles flew about 450 km (280 miles) and reached an altitude of 37 km (23 miles), the JCS said. A North Korean official said of the drills: "They can neither hide nor whitewash its aggressive nature in any manner".

North Korea today fired missiles into the sea off its east coast for the fourth time in less than two weeks.

The U.S. and South Korea say the drills are defensive in nature, while North Korea sees them as preparation to invade.

The allies have scaled down their major military exercises and also stopped regional dispatches of USA strategic assets such as long-range bombers and aircraft carriers since the first summit between Kim and President Donald Trump in Singapore in June past year to create space for diplomacy.

It will also put a damper on South Korean President Moon Jae-in's hopes of promoting cross-border tourism projects for his citizens to visit their nuclear-armed neighbour.

The experts said representatives from three North Korean entities under United Nations sanctions - KOMID, Saeng Pil and Namchongang - continued to operates overseas, including under diplomatic cover, "attempting to transfer conventional weapons and expertise and to procure equipment and technology for the country's WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programs".

Japan's defence ministry said it did not see any imminent threat to Japanese security from the latest projectile launch by North Korea.

Rachel Minyoung Lee, a Seoul-based analyst with NK Pro, said the statement "seems to lay the groundwork for backing out" of Kim's pledge to halt testing of nuclear weapons and longer-range missiles that can carry them to the USA mainland.

The security council has unanimously imposed sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to halt Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs funding.

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