Kim Jong Un Sends Condolences to South

But gesture over death of president's mother comes amid new missile tests
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2019 7:05 AM CDT
Kim Sends One Signal of Warmth, Another of Strength
South Korean President Moon Jae-in wipes his tear as his wife Kim Jung-sook stands by after a funeral mass for his mother at Namcheon Catholic Cathedral in Busan, South Korea, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. Moon's office says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has sent a message of condolence to Moon over his...   (Son Hyung-joo/Yonhap via AP)

Two moves by the North Korean regime illustrate the state of diplomacy on the Korean peninsula. On the hopeful side, Kim Jong Un sent condolences across the border to South Korean President Moon Jae-in over the death of Moon's 92-year-old mother, reports Reuters. At the same time, the North fired what appeared to be two ballistic missiles off its east coast into the waters between North Korea and Japan, reports the BBC. Thursday's launch is the North's second this month but the first since talks with the US over Pyongyang's nuclear program ended without a deal, notes the New York Times.

It's widely seen as the regime's way of trying to pressure the US to return to the negotiating table, and the AP notes that the move comes after a series of statements from the North expressing frustration over the stalemate and economic sanctions. And things could get worse. "North Korea is investing all its strength in a hard-line position against Washington and Seoul," says an analyst at Korea University in Seoul. "If its missiles fly over Japan, the international impact would be huge because the United States and Japan would find it difficult to let it go." (More Kim Jong Un stories.)

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