On Thursday, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) test fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, Sputnik reported. While the move was decried, for example, by the French Foreign Ministry, Trump has remained a cool customer, saying on Friday the test didn't bother him very much.
"They’re short-range missiles and my relationship is very good with Chairman Kim," Trump told reporters. "And we’ll see what happens, but they are short-range missiles and many people have those missiles."
Trump's comments came amid a Q&A at a presser in the Oval Office announcing the US and Guatemala signing a safe third party asylum agreement.
"We've been doing very well," Trump said on Thursday about relations with the DPRK. "[W]e'll see what happens ... They haven't done nuclear testing. They really haven't tested missiles other than, you know, smaller ones, which is something that lots test. But I think with North Korea, we've been doing very well."
An officer with South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday that the second missile fired by Pyongyang "could be a new type" of missile, although noting that it requires more research before drawing firm conclusions.
"We are forced to continue to develop super-powerful weapons systems to eliminate the potential and direct threats to our national security in the South," DPRK leader Kim Jong Un said, according to the country's Korea Central News Network. The "new tactical guided weapon" test was intended as a "stern warning" to "South Korean warmongers," Kim said, calling on Seoul to suspend the development of new weapons as well as upcoming war games with the United States.
In regards to the warning North Korea gave to its southern neighbor, Trump told reporters that Kim "didn't say a warning to the United States."
"They [North Korea and South Korea] have their disputes," POTUS added. "The two of them have their disputes ... But they are short-range missiles, and very standard missiles."
While Pyongyang and Washington have tried to rekindle the spirit of negotiation birthed last year at the historic Singapore summit between Kim and Trump, relations remain cool, and no prominent talks have take place. The two parties walked out of a February summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, without a deal, as the DPRK refused to make further concessions regarding denuclearization and its ballistic missile programs, and the US refused to lower any economic sanctions without "verifiable" denuclearization by Pyongyang. The small socialist country possesses a small number of nuclear weapons as well as large ballistic missile capabilities, but it's unclear how married those two technologies are in the North Korean arsenal.
While Pyongyang still has not resumed nuclear weapons testing since its 2017 moratorium, it has restarted its testing of ballistic missiles, albeit short-range ones like those seen this week and not the long-range weapons it tested in years past that were capable of reaching US bases in the Pacific and possibly even the US mainland.