Trump says North Korea missile tests no threat to US

AFP , Saturday 27 Jul 2019

File Photo: North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump talk in the garden of the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam Feb. 28, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)

President Donald Trump on Friday brushed off the bellicose language accompanying North Korea's latest short-range missile test, saying it referred to ally South Korea, not the United States.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called two missiles fired Thursday under his personal supervision a "solemn warning" to the South over planned military drills with the United States.

Trump, who has invested heavily in a relationship with Kim, widely seen as one of the world's most repressive dictators, was unconcerned.

"He didn't send a warning to the United States," the president told reporters.

"They have their disputes, the two of them have their disputes," he said of North and South Korea, which fought a 1950-1953 war in which US troops took a major part, ending up as the South's principal protector.

Trump noted that the missiles were short-range, calling them "very standard."

Although they could not have reached anywhere near the United States, the missiles' range would easily include ally South Korea and large US military bases near the border.

"My relationship with very Kim is very good. We'll see what happens," Trump said.

Trump has used three dramatic meetings with Kim to try and upend years of diplomatic failure in getting North Korea to abandon a nuclear weapons program. Kim has so far given up none of his arsenal.

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