North Korea's missile launches not breach of trust: Trump

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump has said he does not consider North Korea's recent launch of short-range ballistic missiles "a breach of trust".

In an interview with Politico on Friday, Mr Trump downplayed the missile tests by North Korea, calling them "very standard stuff".

"They're short-range and I don't consider that a breach of trust at all. And, you know, at some point, I may. But at this point, no," Mr Trump told Politico.

North Korea fired two short-range missiles last Thursday, its second such test in less than a week. It had not launched any since November 2017, before leader Kim Jong Un embarked on diplomatic overtures.

Mr Trump said he might eventually lose faith in his friendly relationship with Mr Kim, which he has previously described as "very strong".

"I mean it's possible that at some point I will, but right now not at all," Mr Trump said.

Last Thursday, Mr Trump appeared to hold the door open for more talks with the North.

"The relationship continues... I know they want to negotiate, they're talking about negotiating. But I don't think they're ready to negotiate," he told reporters.

The Pentagon said Thursday's launches consisted of multiple ballistic missiles that flew in excess of 300km and landed in the ocean.

Mr Kim declared an end to the testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles during a rapid rapprochement last year, paving the way for his first summit with Mr Trump in Singapore in June.

But a second summit between the two mercurial leaders in Hanoi in February broke up without a deal after they failed to agree on what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in exchange for sanctions relief.

Since then, Mr Kim has accused Washington of acting in "bad faith", and given it until the end of the year to change its approach.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 12, 2019, with the headline 'N. Korea's missile launches not breach of trust: Trump'. Print Edition | Subscribe