Trump dismisses North Korean tests of ‘some small weapons’

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US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet during the second US-North Korea summit at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam February 27, 2019

US President Donald Trump has dismissed concerns about recent North Korean missile tests, appearing to contradict his own national security adviser.

In a tweet issued shortly after his arrival in Japan on Sunday, Mr Trump called the missiles “small weapons”.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Saturday that the tests violated UN resolutions on North Korea.

President Trump began a state visit to Japan on Sunday by teeing off a round of golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The two leaders ate breakfast together on Sunday, before heading out to play 16 holes of golf in Chiba, outside the capital Tokyo.

Mr Trump has said he wants to strike a deal with Japan to address what he has called a trade imbalance between the two countries.

Mr Trump wrote: “North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me.” He added: “I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me.”

Not for the first time, his tweet appeared to put him at odds with Mr Bolton, and also with his host nation. Mr Abe last week called the North Korean tests “extremely regrettable”.

Mr Bolton and Mr Abe both accused North Korea of violating UN resolutions.

The contrast between the president and his national security adviser followed other recent divergences on foreign policy, including how to approach the crisis in Venezuela and US relations with Iran.

Earlier this month, the regime tested several short-range missiles, launching them from the Hodo peninsula in the east of the countryNorth Korean state media said Mr Kim personally oversaw a “strike drill” testing various missile components.

That test came after Pyongyang said it had tested what it described as a new “tactical guided weapon” in April.

Neither violate North Korea’s promise not to test long range or nuclear missiles. Yet, they are likely to cause unease in Japan.

Speaking in Tokyo last week, Mr Abe mirrored Mr Bolton’s comments, calling North Korea’s recent missile launches “a breach of UN Security Council resolutions and extremely regrettable”.

“While cooperating closely with the US and other related countries, we are planning to tackle this appropriately by strengthening enforcement of related UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.

North Korea fired a number of missiles over Japan in 2017, leading Mr Trump to tell Mr Abe his country could intercept missiles “if necessary”.

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