Donald Trump says Kim Jong Un’s missile tests don’t violate their agreement

The US president said he believes the North Korean leader still seeks to reach an agreement

President Donald Trump said he believes Kim Jong Un still intends to reach an arrangement with him. AP
President Donald Trump said he believes Kim Jong Un still intends to reach an arrangement with him. AP

Donald Trump said that North Korea’s recent tests of short-range rockets and missiles may run afoul of United Nations resolutions but haven’t violated agreements with his administration.

North Korea on Friday conducted its third test in a week of a new short-range ballistic missile that weapons experts say was designed to strike US allies in East Asia.

Mr Trump has met three times with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the hope of persuading him to surrender his nation’s nuclear arsenal. While the diplomacy has led Mr Kim to cease tests of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles that once threatened the US mainland, Mr Trump has little else to show for his effort.

But on Friday, the president said that he believes Mr Kim still seeks to reach an agreement with him.

“Chairman Kim does not want to disappoint me with a violation of trust, there is far too much for North Korea to gain,” Mr Trump said in the second of three tweets. “Also, there is far too much to lose.

“I may be wrong, but I believe that Chairman Kim has a great and beautiful vision for his country, and only the United States, with me as president, can make that vision come true,” he added.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a statement reported by the state-run Korean Central News Agency that “our decision to halt nuclear tests and inter-continental ballistic missile tests is an act of good faith and consideration for our dialogue partners, not for the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions targeted at North Korea.”

“We are acting with maximum patience by not launching an inter-continental ballistic missile for over 20 months,” the spokesperson said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a Bangkok summit earlier on Friday that the missile tests wouldn’t interfere with US efforts to re-start talks with Mr Kim. The two sides haven’t made progress since Trump walked out of a summit with Mr Kim in Hanoi in February after the North Korean made what the US side considered unreasonable demands.

“You should never doubt what we are communicating to North Korea, there are conversations going on even as we speak,” Mr Pompeo said in a question-and-answer session with Bloomberg TV’s Haslinda Amin. But he noted the diplomatic road is often a bumpy one.

“We are still fully committed to achieving the outcome that we laid out, for a fully, verified denuclearization of North Korea, and to do so through the measure of diplomacy.”

Friday’s projectile reached at altitude of about 25 kilometres and flew for about 225 kms at a maximum speed of Mach 6.9, South Korea’s Defence Ministry said. This means it could strike some US military bases in the country a minute or two after launch.

North Korea appears to be testing its KN-23, solid-fuel, short-range ballistic missile, with its first test coming in May followed by another volley that month and three more since July 25.

The KN-23, similar to a Russian Iskander, is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and has been shown to fly as far as 690 kms — putting US allies South Korea and parts of Japan at risk. It’s designed to be mobile, which makes it easier to hide, and fly at a height and speed that makes it hard for US interceptor systems to shoot down, weapons experts have said.

Published: August 3, 2019 01:41 AM

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