NATIONAL

Trump says he is not upset by NK missile launch

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jul 27, 2019 - 10:51
  • Updated : Jul 28, 2019 - 09:12

US President Donald Trump said Friday he is not upset by North Korea's ballistic missile launches earlier this week, signaling a commitment to continuing nuclear talks with the regime.

(Yonhap-AP)

Trump's remarks came after North Korea test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Thursday (Seoul time) in the first such provocation since early May.

Asked by reporters if he was upset, Trump said, "Nope, not at all."

"They're short-range missiles and my relationship is very good with Chairman Kim," he said at the White House, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "We'll see what happens, but they are short-range missiles and many people have those missiles."

The launches followed an agreement by Trump and Kim to resume working-level talks on denuclearizing the regime, which was reached during their impromptu meeting at the inter-Korean border on June 30.

The North has since warned that the talks' resumption will be contingent on whether Seoul and Washington conduct joint military exercises scheduled for next month.

The latest missile tests, it said, were a "solemn warning" to South Korea over its deployment of "ultramodern" weapons and its plan to hold the drills.

"He didn't say warning to the United States," Trump said, referring to Kim. "But they have their disputes. The two of them have their disputes. They've had them for a long time. But he didn't say that. But they are short-range missiles, and very standard missiles."

UN Security Council resolutions ban North Korea from launching ballistic missiles. But after the previous launches in May, Trump said he was "personally" not bothered by them. He also said in response to US National Security Adviser John Bolton's remarks that they were a violation of the resolutions that he views them "differently."

On the latest launches, Trump told Fox News in an interview Thursday that North Korea hasn't tested missiles other than "smaller ones, which is something that lots test."

He also warned that although the two countries have been doing "very well," that "doesn't mean that's going to continue."

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday described the tests as a negotiating tactic and said he expects the working-level talks to resume in a couple of weeks.

The State Department also said it remains committed to diplomacy but urged the North to refrain from further provocations.

"We urge no more provocations," department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said during a press briefing on Thursday. "This administration is committed to diplomatic engagement with the North Koreans, and we continue to press and hope for these working-level negotiations to move forward."

Trump and Kim agreed at their first summit in Singapore in June 2018 to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for US security guarantees.

A second summit in Vietnam in February ended without a deal due to disagreement over the scope of North Korea's denuclearization and sanctions relief from the US. (Yonhap)