Updated May 5, 2019

North Korea's Kim oversees "strike drill" missile tests

North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

North Korea leader Kim Jong-un oversaw "strike drill" missile tests and said troops should be on "high alert posture," according to state media, following reports Pyongyang launched "multiple unidentified short-range projectiles" Saturday morning (local time).

Details: Projectiles touched down in the water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the U.S. and South Korea are working closely "to maintain a full readiness posture," per the Washington Post.

What they're saying: "The purpose of the drill was to estimate and inspect the operating ability and the accuracy of striking duty performance of large-caliber long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons by defense units. ... and the combat performance of arms and equipment," the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

The big picture: President Trump remained hopeful Saturday of reaching an agreement with Kim, despite February's U.S.-North Korean summit ending without a deal in Hanoi and stalled denuclearization negotiations between the president and Kim.

Context: The action comes after Kim attended a test of what was called a “guided tactical weapon” in April. Experts described that test as a message to the U.S. that the North planned to "continue to amass weapons while the diplomatic standoff continued," per the New York Times.

  • Trump has declined to lift sanctions on North Korea until Kim gives up his country's nuclear arsenal.
  • North Korea indicated it will not back down from mounting international pressure, even if its citizens have "water and air only" to live on, according to state media.
  • Kim met with Russia's Vladimir Putin last month.

Go deeper: North Korea's tactical guided message to Trump

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