North Korea claims it tested crucial new rocket launch system

A South Korean army post with a security camera stands in the fortified Demilitarised Zone - Getty Images AsiaPac

North Korea appears to have carried out a new projectile launch, two United States officials and South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

-South Korea military drills.

The launches from the eastern coastal town of Wonsan were North Korea's second weapons test in less than a week and were seen as a move to keep up pressure on Washington and Seoul amid a stalemate in nuclear negotiations.

"We have to do two things: we have to give the diplomats appropriate space for their diplomacy and help create an environment that's conducive to the talks when they resume - which we expect", the official said on condition of anonymity.

Two short-range ballistic missiles were launched on Tuesday at a low-level, which South Korea claims shows the North was testing their evasive capacities.

The apparent defection comes a day after North Korea carried out two short-range missile launches.

Friday's test was preceded by tests on Wednesday and the previous Thursday, each of which saw two short-range ballistic missiles fired eastward from South Hamgyong Province on the country's easy coast into the Sea of Japan.

Trump and his staff, including Pompeo and national security advisor John Bolton, have repeatedly emphasized that Kim has not broken his pledge to refrain from nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile testing.

Washington stations almost 30,000 troops in the South to defend it from its neighbour, which invaded in 1950.

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"It can be maneuvered during its ballistic trajectory making it hard to predict where the missile will land and intercept it before it does, and hard to detect exactly where the missile came from", says Duyeon Kim of the Center for a New American Security.

The brief but historic meeting of Trump and Kim in the demilitarized zone in late June has not helped revive the process.

Hopes for a new breakthrough following a summit that ended without an agreement came late last month during an unprecedented meeting between Kim, President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in at the heavily-fortified inter-Korean border, but no progress has been announced.

North Korea divulged very few details of the launch and released only a few pictures of the weapons, some of which were low quality or intentionally blurred. The North also tested short-range missiles on May 4 and 9.

He told reporters he was not anxious as they were short-range and "very standard".

North Korea has accused Washington of breaking a promise by planning to go ahead with the military drills and has said they could derail dialogue. "We want diplomacy to work".

The recent test firings have been an attempt to build pressure on South Korea to back out of a joint military exercise this month with the United States, which Pyongyang has denounced as a "rehearsal for war".

US officials have downplayed the threat of the launches to the United States and its allies.

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