Following North Korea’s ballistic missile test over the weekend, President Donald Trump vowed that the U.S. supports its ally Japan “100 percent.”
It seems as though, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was making a statement with the timing of the missile test. The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended a summit meeting with Trump in the U.S. the day before the test launch.
“North Korea’s most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable,” said Abe in a joint appearance with Trump. “North Korea must fully comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.”
“I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent,” said Trump.
South Korea also condemned the country for the launch and the Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn pledged to punish the North.
“NATO condemned the missile test in a statement by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said North Korea “must refrain from further provocations, halt all launches using ballistic missile technology and abandon once and for all its ballistic missile programs … ” writes Reuters. “The French foreign ministry also condemned the launch, issuing a statement that said “France reaffirms its solidarity with its partners in Asia-Pacific whose security is threatened by the North Korean nuclear and ballistic program.”
This was the North’s first test since Trump had been elected and his administration has been expecting a “provocation.”
Trump has always had a tough stance on North Korea and has pledged to have a more aggressive approach with the country.
After Kim said the North was soon going to test an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) in January, Trump tweeted “North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!”
“The missile was not an intercontinental ballistic missile, U.S. Strategic Command said. It said the missile is believed to have been a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile, and the launch posed no threat to the U.S.,” writes NBC News. “A U.S. Defense Department official said the U.S. detected a ballistic missile launch from Banghyon Air Base at 7:55 a.m. Seoul time, and that the missile flew 500 kilometers (310 miles) and landed in the East Sea, as the Sea of Japan is also known.”
According to the UN, North Korea fired 25 projectiles last year.
“They do things as much for political reasons as they do for military reasons,” said Carl Schuster, former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center. “The launch is more significant politically than operationally — it’s the first shot since Trump took office, it comes just 10 days after (current secretary of defense and retired) Gen. Mattis promised the Japanese and the South Koreans against the North Korean nuclear threat.”
It is unlikely Trump won’t respond to North Korea directly.
“The North’s improvement in missile capability shown today will be met by the Trump administration’s strong opposition and will likely accelerate the Thaad deployment in South Korea,” said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior fellow at the Sejong Institute. “That would, of course, trigger a backlash by China, which will likely retaliate against South Korea further.”
While North Korea continues to make powerful enemies angry, Trump is busy building foreign relationships.
“After two days of very productive talks, Prime Minister Abe is heading back to Japan,” tweeted Trump.
Following Abe’s visit, Trump met with the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and a group of leading CEOs and business women from Canada.