U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday expressed disappointment at North Korea’s recent missile tests but held back on criticising Kim Jong Un.
Trump made this known to reporyers while sitting next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Basque coastal town of Biarritz at the G7 summit in France.
“I am not happy about it, but again he is not in violation of an agreement,” Trump said.
He noted that he received a “very nice letter” from the North Korean leader last week.
“I think in the end he will do the right thing. We’ll see. Maybe not.
”Maybe. But I think he’ll do the right thing,” the U.S. president added.
North Korea has embarked on a new series of missile tests in recent months, most recently on Saturday, when two missiles were into the sea off its eastern coast.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the latest test, the seventh such launch in less than a month.
The missiles were launched in the morning from the eastern city of Sondok and flew some 380 kilometres, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
They were thought to have been two short-range ballistic missiles.
North Korea, on the other hand, described the equipment tested as a “newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher”.
State media said Kim personally oversaw the launch and praised the weapons system’s developers.
The reports gave no further details on the purportedly new weaponry.
In Biarritz, Abe disagreed with Trump on the legality of the tests, saying through an interpreter that “the launch of short-range ballistic missiles by North Korea clearly violates the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
“It was extremely regrettable for us to experience another round of the launch of the short-range ballistic missiles by North Korea in recent days.”
Pyongyang says its current tests are in response to joint military exercises conducted between the U.S. and South Korea.
The annual manoeuvres have been a source of tension in the past.
The U.S. and South Korea ended the exercises earlier this week.
Pyongyang and Washington are currently trying to relaunch stalled talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programmes and economic sanctions.
Trump and Kim met in June in the Demilitarised Zone between the two Koreas and agreed to restart talks.
That meeting came after a second summit between the leaders in Hanoi in February failed to yield a deal on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament and the reduction of sanctions.
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea – which has also conducted several nuclear weapons tests – from launching short-, medium- and long-range ballistic missiles. (dpa/NAN)