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60 days since last N. Korean missile test, but experts remain cautious Updated: 2017-11-15 11:57:57 KST


Over 60 days and counting.
After months of successive ballistic missile tests by North Korea and unprecedented hostile exchanges with the U.S., there has now been relative quiet from the North for the past two months.
Talks have surfaced of a possible improvement in relations, and of sanctions starting to take effect. Even U.S. President Trump last week suggested North Korea may be ready to start dialogue.

+ (November 7, 2017)
"I do see certain movement, yes. But let's see what happens."

But officials remain cautious.
Joseph Yun, Washington's top nuclear envoy, said last month that if North Korea stops nuclear weapons activity for 60 days, the U.S. should consider opening talks with Pyongyang.
However, when asked about this on Tuesday, he said that there had been no communication over why they had stopped, and that he only hoped* the situation stays this way.

It's perhaps not unusual that Pyongyang's missile activity remains quiet at this time of year.
Since Kim Jong-un came to power, the average number of missile launches conducted by Pyongyang in the first three quarters of the year is above four a year, but the average number of missile launches in the fourth quarter is less than one.
Experts have reservations about the significance of this pattern, and point to other factors for the current pause in launches.

(Korean - )
"There are various reasons why the North could have stopped missile launches. It could be technical, they might need more time to perfect the next stage of their ICBM development. It could also simply be about the timing. They might feel they have nothing to gain politically if they launch a missile now."

And despite the lack of missile launches, it doesn't mean tensions have eased.
The South Korean and U.S. forces remain on alert, and continue military exercises such as the recent joint naval drills, featuring three U.S. carriers.
Pyongyang also continues its rhetoric on its state media, such as its pledge on Tuesday not to give up its nuclear weapons and that victory against the U.S. is inevitable.
Kwon Jang-ho, Arirang news.
Reporter : kwon@arirang.com
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