North Korea offers talks, then launches projectiles

North Korea fires unidentified projectiles toward East Sea

North Korea again tests 'super-large' rocket launcher: KCNA

Trump announced he had fired Bolton a day after North Korea signaled a new willingness to resume stalled denuclearization talks, but it then proceeded with the latest in a spate of missile test launches.

In the late-night statement carried by state media, Choe said North Korea is willing to sit down with the United States "for comprehensive discussions in late September of the issues we have so far taken up, at a time and place to be agreed".

Tuesday's projectile launches came a day after a senior North Korean official said Pyongyang is ready to resume denuclearization talks with the US.

The previous seven launches have revealed short-range missile and rocket artillery systems that experts say would potentially expand its capabilities to strike targets throughout South Korea, including United States military bases there.

Choe Son Hui, deputy director general of the Department of US Affairs of North Korea Foreign Ministry, briefs journalists outside the North Korean embassy in Beijing, China, June 23, 2016.

On Tuesday, the president and Bolton were at odds about how exactly Bolton's decision to leave was made. "More detailed analysis is needed to determine the exact specifications", JCS spokesman Kim Joon-rak said. "That would increase the likelihood of denuclearisation talks restarting soon".

Indeed, Trump's North Korea envoy, Stephen Biegun, a firm advocate of engagement with Pyongyang, is among the names that have been floated as possible successors to Bolton.

While Bolton's removal from talks will calm the North Koreans, many fear that this may send a counter-productive message to Kim and encourage more nuclear activity.

North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui
North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui

In April, Kim said he was open to another summit with Trump but set the end of the year as a deadline for the U.S. to offer improved terms for an agreement to revive the nuclear diplomacy.

"Someone asked, would the policy be different absent any individual being here", Pompeo said to reporters at the White House. Bolton split with the president on his decision to negotiate with the militant group, among other foreign policy positions.

Trump said he got along with Bolton and hoped they parted on good terms, but added: "Maybe we have and maybe we haven't".

FILE - President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi., Feb. 28, 2019.

US President Donald Trump called North Korea's announcement "interesting". Last year, it threatened to call off a first summit between Kim and Trump after Bolton suggested the Libya model of unilateral disarmament.

Another US official, on condition of anonymity, said that initial information indicated that North Korea had launched two projectiles that appeared to be short range.

On Monday, the North's vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui said in a statement carried by KCNA that the country had "willingness to sit with the USA side for comprehensive discussions of the issues we have so far taken up" later this month, at a time and place to be determined. North Korea often ratchets up military tensions ahead of negotiations.

"Now that he's gone, just at a time when the two countries are talking about restarting working-level talks, North Korea would try to make various attempts and use tricks to turn things to their advantage, seeing this as a chance to score points without defense from the other side".

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