North Korea on Tuesday fired two more missiles, marking the fourth time it has done so since July 25. The AP reports the unidentified missiles traveled across the country from the west and into the sea; the previous launches all took place in the east. The BBC notes the timing: The launch comes a day after US-South Korean military exercises reportedly began, much to the North's displeasure. While the annual drills are being characterized as understated this time around—the AP reports they're slated to be computer simulations, not exercises involving combat troops and military gear—the North sees them as a violation of deals made with the two countries. The Guardian reports a rep for the foreign ministry was quoted by state media as saying, "Despite our repeated warnings ... the joint military exercise targeting" North Korea have begun.
Should the US and South Korea continue on this path, North Korea "will be compelled to seek a new road as we have already indicated." At Vox, Alex Ward's take is that the North is bothered by more than the drills: Denuclearization talks with the US have gone nowhere for months, and the root issue is sanctions: Kim Jong Un wants some lifted before weapons are relinquished; Trump wants the reverse. "Meanwhile, those sanctions have impeded South Korea from building closer political and economic ties with its neighbor," writes Ward. "Put together, North Korea remains under financial strain with no prospects of reversing its fortunes any time soon." (Here's what Trump had to say after the third launch.)