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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired two projectiles toward the sea off its eastern coast Thursday, South Korea’s military said, days after the communist state warned it was losing patience over stalled nuclear talks with the United States.

The launch, which came about a month after the North test-fired a new missile capable of being launched from a submarine, would be the 12th this year, raising fears of new tensions.

The projectiles were fired from the western area of Pyeongannam-do, the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said in a brief statement that did not provide more details.

“Our military is tracking and monitoring relevant movements and maintaining readiness posture in case of additional launches,” it said.

Misawa Air Base, 700 miles north of Tokyo on the northern tip of the island of Honshu, issued a “real world missile alert” and urged personnel to “seek shelter” on its official Facebook page at 4:50 p.m. Thursday.

The base declared “all clear” within minutes, according to the 35th Fighter Wing public affairs office.

North Korea has expressed increasing frustration over the lack of progress in diplomatic efforts over its nuclear weapons program as a year-end deadline set by leader Kim Jong Un looms.

A senior official hinted Sunday that even the “close personal” relationship between Kim and President Donald Trump was being tested and warned “there can be the exchange of fire any moment.”

“The U.S. is now more desperately resorting to the hostile policy towards (North Korea), misjudging the patience and tolerance,” of the North, Kim Yong Chol said in a statement carried on the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Trump has dismissed concerns about past launches and his administration has maintained confidence that it can get diplomatic efforts back on track.

North Korea has demanded that Washington present a more flexible approach before the end of the year. after The second summit between Trump and Kim broke down in February in Vietnam due to sharp differences over the North’s demands for sanctions relief.

The two leaders promised to resume talks during an impromptu meeting on June 30 on the Korean border. But the working-level negotiations that took place in Sweden earlier this month also ended without agreement.

The launches occurred hours after South Korea said that Kim had sent a message of condolence to President Moon Jae-in over the death of his 92-year-old mother earlier this week.

Stars and Stripes reporter Joseph Ditzler contributed to this report from Yokota Air Base, Japan.

gamel.kim@stripes.com

Twitter: @kimgamel

chang.kyong@stripes.com


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