NKorea says leader Kim oversaw drills of rocket launchers

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in the garden of the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-US summit in Hanoi Vietnam on Feb 28 2019

The South initially reported on Saturday that a single missile was sacked, but later issued a statement that said "several projectiles" had been launched and that they flew up to 200 kilometres before splashing into the sea toward the northeast.

Sanders said, "We are aware of North Korea's actions tonight".

Although North Korea has not gone so far as to renege on its moratorium on nuclear and ICBM tests, which its leader, Kim Jong-un, announced past year, the Saturday launch indicated that Kim was toying with the idea of lifting the moratorium, analysts said.

That test was the first announced by North Korea since Kim's February summit with Trump ended abruptly ended without a deal.

In an earlier statement, it had said Pyongyang launched an unidentified short-range missile.

But Pyongyang appears to be growing impatient with Washington's insistence that full economic sanctions remain until Mr Kim takes serious steps to dismantle his nuclear weapons programme, says the BBC's Laura Bicker.

Surveillance and vigilance in preparation of further launches by North Korea have been ramped up, the Office of the Joint Chief of Staffs said.

Most notably, the North said last month it conducted a test of a tactical guided weapon.

Pyongyang has recently demanded that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo be removed from nuclear negotiations and criticized national security adviser John Bolton.

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US President Donald Trump voiced confidence Saturday that Kim Jong Un would not "break his promise", following what if confirmed would be North Korea's first short-range missile launch for more than a year.

"I believe that Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea", he wrote.

North Korea launched several short-range projectiles from its east coast on Saturday, potentially raising tensions with Washington but not invalidating its self-declared moratorium on ballistic missile tests.

President Trump tweeted about his relationship with Kim around 9:45 a.m. ET, while also saying that a deal with North Korea would still happen.

North Korea's vice foreign minister said on Tuesday the United States will face "undesired consequences" if it fails to present a new position in denuclearisation talks by the end of the year.

On Friday, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed several topics, including North Korea during a phone conversation, according to a Twitter message from President Trump.

The South Korean military is reporting that North Korea is once again test-firing missiles after nearly a year and a half without any such testing.

Japan's Defence Ministry said the projectiles weren't a security threat and didn't reach anywhere near the country's coast.

While the Trump administration has said it's in no rush to make a deal, North Korea has intensified angry rhetoric calling on the South to ignore USA pressure and move forward with inter-Korean economic projects.

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