North Korea says rocket test was 'regular and self-defensive'

North Korea on Wednesday said last week’s missile test was “regular and self-defensive,” according to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The recent drill conducted by our army is nothing more than part of the regular military training, and it has neither targeted anyone nor led to an aggravation of situation in the region,” a ministry spokesperson told the state-run KCNA news agency.

The spokesperson added that other countries routinely carry out “this kind of very normal drill” for national defense rather than “the war exercises waged by some countries against other sovereign states.”

Missile tests by other countries typically involve advance notice to nearby nations.

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North Korea on Saturday launched multiple projectiles and at least one short-range missile toward Japan in its first missile test since November 2017, when it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile believed to be capable of reaching the U.S.

Shortly after Saturday’s test, President Trump wrote on Twitter that he believes North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnTrump juggles crises in Iran, North Korea, Venezuela The Hill’s Morning Report – Can Barr and House Dems avert contempt clash? The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump, Barr split over Mueller testimony to Congress MORE “fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it.”

The recent launches followed stalled talks in February between the U.S. and North Korea, where Trump and Kim met for a second summit but failed to reach an agreement on Pyongyang’s denuclearization.

North Korea said in Wednesday’s statement that there is a double standard at play, with the U.S. and South Korea engaging in “provocative military drills and war exercises” that have produced “only dead silence” from other nations.

Trump, after first meeting with Kim in June 2018 in Singapore, announced he was canceling all large-scale military exercises with South Korea, a move that caught U.S. military leaders off guard.

The U.S. military now holds smaller-scale exercises on and around the Korean Peninsula.

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