US, South Korea begin defence talks ahead of North Korean launch


US and South Korean officials on Wednesday began senior-level defence talks ahead of a possible North Korean missile launch, a news report said.

The two-day meeting was to include discussion of countermeasures that could be taken if Pyongyang conducts another nuclear detonation or long-range missile test, Yonhap News Agency reported.

North Korea vowed last week to launch what it said would be an observation satellite, but some feared it would in fact be an intercontinental ballistic missile test, the report said.

Pyongyang is thought to have plans for the 70th anniversary of the founding of its ruling communist party on October 10. Such milestones are often marked by a military or technological show of strength.

On Tuesday, a South Korean navy report said that six more North Korean patrol boats were being stationed near the country’s sea border with South Korea, challenging the Northern Limit Line.

The buildup of North Korean military power in the Yellow Sea was seen as a move to nullify previously agreed upon maritime boundaries, the report said, according to Yonhap.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was recently presumed to have replaced key party officials in the country’s missile and nuclear development programme, Yonhap reported.