White House: Trump ‘cannot imagine that Russia is pleased’ with North Korean missile launch

After North Korea launched another missile this weekend President Trump “cannot imagine that Russia is pleased,” the White House press secretary said in a statement Saturday evening.

“North Korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long,” Sean Spicer said in a statement, adding that “South Korea and Japan have been watching this situation closely with us.”

Trump met with Russian diplomats last week, and earlier this month, he and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed over the phone to tackle the North Korea threat together.

A U.S. Pacific Command spokesman confirmed reports of North Korea missile launched from Kusung Sunday morning local time. The statement said that it landed in the Sea of Japan and that while it is assessing the type of missile used, its flight was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile. The North American Aerospace Defense Command determined that the missile never posed a threat to the United States.

The South Korean military said in a statement that its neighbor the the north launched a test ballistic missile that flew about 435 miles.

The White House statement specifically said the missile landed closer to Russia than it did neighboring Japan.

“With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil – in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan – the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased,” Spicer said.

The launched was condemned by newly sworn-in South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who said it was in violation of United Nations resolutions, Yonhap News Agency reported.

“The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea,” Spicer said in his statement. “Let this latest provocation serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea.” The statement also said Trump was briefed on the situation.

North Korea last test-fired a ballistic missile in late April. The U.S. military said it exploded mid-flight.

Trump took to Twitter to scold North Korea for disrespecting “the wishes of China & its highly respected President” with that launch. He added: “Bad!”

Just before that launch, and only two weeks after the previous failed attempt, Trump warned there is a chance of “a major, major conflict with North Korea.” The president said solving the North Korea problem without armed conflict would be preferable, but that it would not be easy. “We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult,” he said.

Trump later said he would be “honored” to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un under “the right circumstances.”

This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner


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