North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a missile launch in this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency. KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a missile launch in this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency. KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY

North Korea flexes military muscle ahead of US-South Korean drills

by Kim Gamel
Stars and Stripes

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea was a no-show at a key regional security conference last week, dashing U.S. hopes for a sideline meeting aimed at restarting nuclear talks.

Instead, the communist state sent a fiery message with a series of missile tests that showed its determination to expand its arsenal amid the diplomatic deadlock.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un likely has several reasons for the show of force, including an effort to increase his negotiating power and to protest U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which are expected to begin Monday.

There’s also a more basic motive, experts say, as the launches made clear that the North continues to develop short-range strike capabilities that could threaten not only South Korea, but thousands of U.S. soldiers and other Americans stationed there.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.593148

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