N Korea Launches 2 Projectiles In Thanksgiving Message To Trump

Seoul: North Korea fired two projectiles on Thursday, using the start of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States to telegraph its frustration over Washington's refusal to grant sanctions relief.

The short-range projectiles were launched from Ryonpo on the North's east coast around 5 p.m. local time, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. They added that the projectiles, presumed to have been fired from a super-large multiple rocket launcher, traveled a distance of about 235 miles and reached an altitude of 60 miles.

"This type of act from North Korea does not help efforts to alleviate tensions on the Korean Peninsula," the JCS said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described Pyongyang's actions as a threat to the region and the world.

"We will remain in close contact with the United States, South Korea and the international community to monitor the situation. We will increase our vigilance to preserve the safety and assets of the Japanese people," he told reporters.

The launch continues a more aggressive posture by North Korea over recent months as talks with Washington hit a stalemate. Pyongyang has warned that its patience is running thin, and has given the United States until the end of the year to change its "hostile" policy and salvage the dialogue process.

Last month, North Korea test-fired what it said was a new "super-large" multiple rocket launcher. And earlier this week, North Korea said its troops carried out artillery drills near its disputed sea border with South Korea.

Thursday's launches appeared timed to coincide with the Thanksgiving break and the two-year anniversary of Pyongyang's test of an intercontinental ballistic missile known as the Hwasong-15, emphasizing the message to President Trump, said Rachel Minyoung Lee, senior analyst at North Korea-focused website NK Pro.

"All in all, I think North Korea may be on a path toward more militaristic actions until the end of the year," she said. The regime had not issued official pronouncements on the United States since Nov. 19 and appeared to be letting its weapons do the talking, Lee added.

Pyongyang has threatened to resume long-range missile and nuclear tests, which leader Kim Jong Un agreed to freeze after he met with Trump in Singapore last year. Relations deteriorated after a follow-up summit in February ended without an agreement on nuclear disarmament in exchange for sanctions relief.

Earlier this month, North Korea accused the United States of "betrayal" for continuing to hold military exercises with South Korea, and said it no longer felt bound by its previous promises.

Pyongyang has conducted more than a dozen shorter-range ballistic missile tests since April, though Trump has repeatedly played down their significance.

Kim has called for relief from the international sanctions that hobble his economy, but the United States says North Korea has not taken sufficient disarmament steps to justify easing the pressure.

"The deadlock in nuclear talks with the United States is pushing North Korea to ramp up the level of provocation," said Shin Beom-chul, a researcher at Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

North Korea has previously used U.S. holidays to send messages to Washington. It launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, 2017.

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Raúl and Díaz-Canel congratulate the Democratic Republic of Korea on its 71st anniversary

The Communist Party of Cuba’s first secretary, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, sent a message of congratulations to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, September 9, on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In his message, Raul reaffirmed the value Cuba gives ties with Pyongyang, based on the special relations shared by their leaders, according to a report on Cubavisión.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez also saluted the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on its anniversary, on behalf of the people and government of our country.

Cuba and the DPRK established diplomatic relations August 29, 1960, and have maintained fraternal ties since that time, based on mutual respect and admiration, and the friendship shared by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz and the great leader Kim Il Sung.

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Trump Says Kim Apologized for Previous Missile Tests, Though North Korea Launched More Missles Hours Later

On Saturday morning, President Donald Trump celebrated a letter he claims to have received from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un indicating a possible desire to meet after the U.S. is finished conducting joint military exercises with South Korea.

Trump wrote in a tweet that Kim "very nicely" said in a letter that he "would like to meet" once the drills were finished. The joint exercises between U.S. servicemembers in the region and South Korean forces began on Monday but were reportedly less conspicuous than past drills, occurring mainly through tactical simulations.

South Korean media reported early Saturday that North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, the country's latest act of defiance in protest of the drills, which the country has always objected to.

The president wrote that Kim's letter included "a small apology for testing short range missiles" and a promise that these tests would stop once the exercises were concluded. Trump first announced the letter on Friday, only to have Kim follow up on his apologies with Saturday's missile launches.

Saturday's tweet did not appear to reference the latest round of missile launches, despite the notation of Kim's alleged "apology" just the day prior for previous tests.

In a rebuke to the military, Trump's tweet derided the "ridiculous and very expensive exercises," which are conducted annually between U.S. and South Korean forces on the Peninsula as a show of strength, to prepare troops for a possible escalation of conflict and to deter aggression from the north.

South Korean military leaders said that they were "monitoring the situation in case of additional launches while maintaining a readiness posture."

Saturday's provocations mark the fifth series of missile tests in two weeks times. Kim has called the tests a "solemn warning" to the U.S. over the joint exercises.

Trump and Kim met most recently at the border between South Korea and North Korea, the third such summit between the pair and the first time a sitting U.S. president has crossed the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea.

Talks about Kim's nuclear program were reportedly set to resume following the meeting on June 30, but no known guarantees or agreements have been reported.

On Friday, Trump appeared to sympathize with the North Korean position on the joint exercises.

"He wasn't happy with the war games," he said. "I've never liked it either. I've never been a fan. And you know why? I don't like paying for it."

Saturday's tweet included a suggestion, though lacking a specific commitment, that the two leaders would meet once more to resolve longstanding nuclear tensions.

"I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un in the not too distant future," Trump wrote. "A nuclear free North Korea will lead to one of the most successful countries in the world!"

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Chinese President Xi Jinping Meets Kim Jong Un In North Korea

Pyongyang, North Korea: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pyongyang on Thursday on a historic visit to burnish an uneasy alliance, with the two men each facing challenges of their own with US President Donald Trump.

Xi is the first Chinese president to visit North Korea in 14 years, after relations between the Cold War era allies deteriorated over Pyongyang's nuclear provocations and Beijing's subsequent backing of UN sanctions.

But as he embarked on a flurry of diplomacy last year, Kim ensured that Xi -- the leader of his country's key diplomatic supporter and main provider of trade and aid -- was the first head of state he met.

The North Korean has now visited his older ally four times in China and Pyongyang has been increasingly keen for Xi to reciprocate, while according to diplomats Beijing has been biding its time to see how nuclear talks between Kim and Trump play out.

But Beijing's own trade negotiations with Washington hit a wall last month and some analysts say Xi is now looking for leverage ahead of his meeting with Trump at next week's G20 summit in Japan.

"When both China & North Korea are confronted by US, they have a lot to discuss with each other," Lijian Zhao, the deputy chief of mission of China's embassy in Pakistan, wrote on Twitter.

Kim met Xi at Pyongyang airport as he began a two-day state visit with his wife Peng Liyuan, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and other officials, according to Chinese state media.

Portraits of the two leaders stood outside the terminal, pictures showed, and a 21-gun salute was fired.

Chinese flags hung throughout the capital and hundreds of thousands of residents were lined up along the streets according to CCTV -- standard procedure when a foreign leader visits the isolated North, whose authorities are adept at mounting spectacular displays.

But in an unprecedented move, Xi was welcomed at the Kumsusan Palace, the mausoleum where the preserved bodies of the North's founder Kim Il Sung and successor Kim Jong Il -- the grandfather and father of the current leader -- lie in state.

Kim and Xi went on to hold formal talks, Xinhua reported.

The Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling party, devoted the top half of its front page to the visit, with a colour picture of Xi accompanying a profile.

In an editorial, it said the trip at a time of "complex international relations" showed that the leadership in Beijing attached "high importance on the DPRK-China friendship".

"Our people are proud of having a trustworthy and close friend like the Chinese people," it added.

Symbolic Visit

Xi's visit will be largely symbolic, with no formal joint communique expected -- as was the case with Kim's April summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok, Russia.

Authorities have imposed tight restrictions on coverage. International journalists in Pyongyang were told they would not be able to cover it, while foreign media organisations initially invited to attend proved unable to secure visas.

Sources said the Chinese media delegation accompanying Xi was also reduced in size from initial plans.

The North wants to demonstrate to Trump that it has China's support with nuclear negotiations at a standstill after Trump and Kim's second summit broke up without a deal.

In Hanoi in February the two men disagreed in February on what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in exchange for sanctions relief.

For the North the visit "will serve to show the US that China has its back and to send a message to Washington it should stop its maximum pressure posture", said Lim Eul-chul, professor of North Korean studies at Kyungnam University.

Analysts say the trip is equally a chance for China to showcase its influence in the region and the talks process, at a time when it is at loggerheads with the US over trade.

In clear assertion of Beijing's role, Xi said in a rare opinion piece in the Rodong Sinmun that China would play an active part in "strengthening communication and coordination" between the North and "other relevant parties" to push forward negotiations.

Beijing has fretted over being sidelined after the North Korean leader agreed to meet Trump last year, with the US leader going as far as declaring he had fallen "in love" with Kim.

"Xi wants everyone to remain acutely aware that he can influence Kim, and that no comprehensive, durable deal with North Korea can occur without China's assistance -- and approval," Scott Seaman, Asia director of the Eurasia Group consultancy, said in a research note.

Beijing sees the North as a strategic buffer, keeping the 28,500 US troops in South Korea far from its borders, and Xi's trip will include a visit to pay homage at Pyongyang's Friendship Tower, a monument to the millions of Chinese troops who saved Kim Il Sung's forces from defeat during the Korean War.

But Zhao Tong, North Korea expert at the Carnegie Tsinghua Center think tank in Beijing, said Xi and Kim were unlikely to have substantive discussions on denuclearisation, because "China and North Korea do not have enough mutual trust".

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Cuban, North Korean Leaders Agreed to Strengthen Bilateral Links

Pyongyang, Nov 4 (Prensa Latina) Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel and the North Korean President of the Workers'' Party (KWP), Kim Jong-Un held talks on Sunday in which they committed to continue strengthening bilateral relations.

During a dinner offered to the Cuban head of State by his host, Diaz-Canel transmitted a warm salute to him and the North Korean people, from Army General Raul Castro and the Cuban people.

He went on to explain that this visit takes place at a moment when Cuba, under the guidance of Raul Castro, sees a new generation begin to access the main posts of the Party and the Government.

He underlined that it is a continuity process and thus, his visit is of continuity, ratification and commitments.

Referring to the official talks held this afternoon with Kim Jong-Un, Diaz-Canel said both leaders committed to keep strengthening and expanding their relations.

He advanced that Cuba and the PDRK agreed during the private talks, to carry out cooperation projects in the sectors of tourism, education and public health.

Diaz-Canel recalled that Cuba and the PDRK's relations are historical and are based on mutual respect and admiration. He said the links were founded by the friendship between Fidel Castro and who he called, the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung.

Relations were further strengthened by the work of Raul Castro and Kim Jon-il.

The Cuban president revealed that both he and Kim Jong-Un committed this Sunday to continue strengthening relations between both their countries.

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Reply Message to Kim Jong Un from Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez

Kim Jong Un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, received a reply message from Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, president of the Council of State and president of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, on June 28.

The message expressed sincere thanks to Kim Jong Un for expressing profound condolences and close solidarity in the period during which Cuba feels pain over the tragic passenger plane accident which occurred on May 18, on behalf of the people and government of Cuba and the bereaved families of the victims.

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Trump 'Did Not Like' Meeting Between Lavrov and Kim Jong Un

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday received a letter from Kim Jong-un, but did not reveal what the letter said other than to say that it was "very nice."

U.S. President Donald Trump "did not like" the meeting that took place between Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un this week.

RELATED: North Korea, United States June 12 'Nuclear Summit' Confirmed

Immediately after saying he "did not like" the meeting, however, Trump said in the White House briefing that he could "love it" if it is "a positive meeting" – further compounding the already clumsy statement. 

"I did not like the Russian meeting yesterday, as what's the purpose of this meeting? But it could be a positive meeting. If it is a positive meeting, I love it. If it is a negative meeting, I am not happy. And it could be very well a positive meeting," Trump said.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov had held a productive meeting with Kim in Pyongyang earlier this week, when they advanced bilateral relations and reaffirmed commitment to denuclearize. A letter from Vladimir Putin was also given to Kim.

Trump on Friday received a letter from Kim Jong-un, but did not reveal what the letter said other than to observe that it was "very nice."

"That letter was a very nice letter. Oh, would you like to see what was in that letter? Would you like? How much? How much?" the president quipped.

Trump also confirmed he will be meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12, as originally planned. Trump had earlier canceled the meeting, but then executed a u-turn and reinitiated talks with Korean officials.

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Trump Calls off Meeting with North Korea's Kim

News comes just hours after North Korea dismantled a nuclear test site.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday called off his planned June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a letter released by the White House.

"I was very much looking forward to being there with you," Trump said in the letter. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting."

Trump called it "a missed opportunity" and said someday he still hoped to meet Kim.

Earlier Thursday, North Korea repeated a threat to pull out of the unprecedented summit with Trump next month and warned it was prepared for a nuclear showdown with Washington if necessary.

In a statement released by North Korean media, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui had called U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy" for comparing North Korea - a "nuclear weapons state" - to Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi gave up his unfinished nuclear development program, only to be later killed by NATO-backed fighters.

A small group of international media selected by North Korea witnessed the demolition of tunnels at the Punggye-ri site Thursday, which Pyongyang says is proof of its commitment to end nuclear testing.

The apparent destruction of what North Korea says is its only nuclear test site has been widely welcomed as a positive, if largely symbolic, step toward resolving tension over its weapons. 

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