North Korea

North Korea has reportedly conducted a third test launch in just over a week, firing what appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles, according to South Korean officials.

The presidential office in Seoul said the South Korean and U.S. militaries believe the test involved short-range ballistic missiles. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff noted that they flew about 137 miles and reached an altitude of 15 miles, traveling at the hypersonic speed of Mach 6.9.

The United States is trying again to persuade North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program.

A senior U.S. official tells NPR that U.S. diplomats are communicating with the reclusive regime. They are passing messages through North Korea's mission to the United Nations in New York.

Two key Asian leaders — both of whom President Trump has been trying to negotiate deals with — will meet Thursday, when Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to North Korea for the first time as president, Chinese and North Korean state media report.

The two-day visit was prompted by an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to China's Xinhua News Agency.

The meeting comes just days before Trump and Xi are supposed to meet at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

There's an evening show on North Korea's state TV that brings soldiers news from their hometowns.

Last September, the show on the regime-run Korean Central Television, or KCTV, was interrupted for an urgent update.

"Another piece of news from our families on the homefront, just in from the Kangson steel factory," an announcer says.

"Soldiers from Kangson will be happy to hear that," the anchor replies, beaming.

The update: A soldier's father says he and fellow factory workers are so motivated that they will beat production targets by 50%.

North Korea launched two projectiles Thursday that are believed to have been short-range missiles, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, in what would be the second test of such missiles in the past five days.

The apparent missiles were launched from northwestern North Korea, far from the border that divides the Korean Peninsula, and they landed in the Sea of Japan/East Sea, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

The Pentagon has suspended efforts to recover the remains of thousands of service members who died in the Korean War over a lack of communication with North Korea. President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un agreed on the effort during a summit in Singapore a year ago. But U.S. military officials say their North Korean peers went silent after a second summit, in Vietnam, failed in February.

North Korea's newest missile has a striking resemblance to an advanced Russian design, according to experts analyzing images from a test of the weapon on Saturday morning.

The missile, which North Korea describes as a "tactical guided weapon," appears superficially to be nearly identical to Russia's Iskander missile — a highly accurate short-range weapon capable of striking targets more than 150 miles away.

If North Korea is given security guarantees, Kim Jong Un would be willing to denuclearize, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with Kim on Thursday. Their first face-to-face meeting took place on Russky Island in eastern Russia.

President Trump will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on Thursday, as Moon attempts to get U.S. talks with North Korea back on track.

It will be the first meeting for Moon and Trump since the failed summit in Hanoi, which ended with no agreement from Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un on denuclearization.

They are not widely known. And their chances at achieving their stated aim — overthrowing the North Korean government — are believed to be slim at best.

Yet the defector group that calls itself Free Joseon (Free North Korea) could be the first organization to have successfully infiltrated a North Korean diplomatic mission.

Last week, Free Joseon claimed responsibility for a Feb. 22 raid on Pyongyang's embassy in Madrid. Ten intruders armed with knives and replica pistols entered the embassy, according to Spanish authorities.

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