Trump has 'no problem' with latest North Korean missile tests


We discussed nuclear. What we talked about is nuclear.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (right) walks with President Donald Trump during a break in talks at their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018.

A summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam in February collapsed after they failed to reconcile differences between US demands for North Korea's complete denuclearization and Pyongyang's demands for relief from punishing sanctions.

The North also tested short-range missiles on May 4 and 9.

A United States official said U.S. intelligence had detected at least one projectile, and possibly more, that did not pose a threat to North America.

After a closed-door meeting at the UN Security Council, the countries said worldwide sanctions needed to be fully enforced until Pyongyang had dismantled its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Japan's Ministry of Defence said on Friday no immediate impact was seen on the nation's security after the new North Korean launch.

Hours later, Pyongyang said it never has, and never will, recognize the Security Council's resolutions.

They urged the North to "take concrete steps towards its complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the United States as agreed between President Trump and Kim Jong Un on 30 June".

The North Korean statement accused the U.N. Security Council of "groundlessly slandering" Pyongyang's development of conventional weaponry "while turning blind eyes to the war exercises in south Korea and shipment of cutting-edge attack weapons into it".

Trump, however, dismissed the missile tests, calling them on Thursday "very standard", and suggesting via Twitter that his personal touch would persuade Kim to reverse the regime's push for a nuclear arsenal. "Sure, and a lot of other countries test that kind of missile also".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed "great concern" that Tokyo pursued the move despite efforts to encourage a diplomatic solution, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said after a three-way meeting with him and her Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono.

Hong Kong protesters appear in court to face rioting charges
The court granted bail to all 44 defendants and issued an arrest warrant for one defendant, who did not show up in court. Another supporter, surnamed Cheung, said he had come along to show his support for a friend who had been arrested.

"This tit-for-tat brinkmanship will clearly delay working-level talks for at least until the fall to allow both sides to save face", he said.

South Korea's KBS News quoted a JSC official as saying "it was the first time since 2010 that a defector came by way of the Imjin".

On Friday, the North carried out its third weapons test in eight days, firing two projectiles from its east coast that flew some 220 kilometers, reaching speeds of Mach 6.9, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said - unusually fast for a short-range weapon.

That launch was the first since Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held an impromptu meeting in June at the demilitarised zone (DMZ), an area that divides the two Koreas, where they agreed to restart denuclearisation talks.

Kim's government was assiduously improving military capabilities while signalling negotiating demands, said Leif-Eric Easley, an global relations expert at Seoul's Ewha University.

By test-firing weapons that directly threaten South Korea but not the USA mainland or its Pacific territories, North Korea may also be trying to dial up pressure on Seoul and test how far Washington will tolerate its bellicosity without actually causing the nuclear negotiations to collapse.

Despite the setbacks, Trump has continued to hail his good relationship with Kim, and some analysts believe Pyongyang will have been emboldened to press more aggressively for US concessions given the USA leader's apparent eagerness to hold up his North Korea policy as a success in his 2020 re-election bid.

But progress towards actual denuclearisation has been slow, with Pyongyang yet to agree to give up any of its weapons and Washington insisting the sanctions against it must remain in place.

Ri canceled a trip to an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference in Bangkok that Pompeo is attending.

"It would've given us an opportunity to have another set of conversations and I hope it won't be too long before I have a chance to do that".

Pyongyang is furious over joint US-South Korean military exercises due to start next week, and analysts say the launches are meant to raise the pressure on Washington. US officials said initial information indicated the activity was similar to two other short-range missile tests by Pyongyang in the past eight days.