President Donald Trump downplayed a recent missile test by North Korea, a day after his national security adviser called the actions a violation of United Nations resolutions, and took a fresh swing at Democrat Joe Biden, the top 2020 Democratic contender.
On Twitter, early Sunday Trump said Pyongyang’s firing of “some small weapons” this month “disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me.
North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Bidan a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2019
The comment was similar to one made by Trump to Politico earlier in the month when he said of the rocket launches, “they’re short range and I don’t consider that a breach of trust at all.”
The launches “were short-range missiles and very standard stuff,” Trump said.
Trump on Saturday also revealed in North Korea’s slam of Biden this week. Pyongyang’s official news agency, KCNA, called the former vice president “an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being” and a “fool of low IQ,” after Biden called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a tyrant.
Kim “smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden (sic) a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” Trump said.
As Biden has moved to the front of the Democratic pack to challenge Trump in 2020, the president has sharpened his rhetoric, including suggesting that China backed away from a trade deal with the U.S. in the hope it can negotiate with Biden instead.
Bolton said Saturday the U.S. still wants to restart talks with North Korea after two Trump-Kim summits have come and gone without progress on denuclearization. Speaking to reporters in Tokyo ahead of Trump’s arrival, Bolton said the launches on May 4 and May 9 were of close-range and short-range ballistic missiles.
The tests were North Korea’s most significant military operations since November 2017, when it fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that weapons experts said could hit all of the U.S. The launches cast new doubt on Trump’s effort to secure a disarmament deal with North Korea.
“UN Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from firing any ballistic missiles,” Bolton said. “In terms of violating UN Security Council resolutions, there’s no doubt about that.” He added that Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would talk about “making sure the integrity of the Security Council resolutions is maintained.”
Bolton said the U.S. has had little contact with North Korea since Trump’s February summit with Kim in Hanoi collapsed without a deal. He added that the U.S.’s special envoy to North Korea, Stephen Biegun, “can’t wait to talk to his North Korean counterpart, but they haven’t responded.”
Asked about Abe’s declaration that he would be ready to hold a summit with Kim without preconditions, Bolton said it “would be in North Korea’s interests to accommodate the prime minister.” Such a meeting “could well be a substantial assistance” to resolving the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by the North, as well as the missile and nuclear problems, he said.
North Korea has heaped disdain on Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for their hard-line approach, saying they have used “gangster-like” tactics. Biden, “reckless and senseless,” has now been added to that list.
The reclusive state, however, has framed Trump in a positive light, saying there is a “mysteriously wonderful” chemistry between him and Kim.
Even though ballistic missile testing is banned by resolutions pushed by Trump’s administration, the U.S. has tamped down talk of discussing the violations with the Security Council, according to two Security Council diplomats who asked not to be identified. European officials suggested holding a meeting, but the U.S. wanted to wait and assess the situation, diplomats said.
North Korea test-fired in May a new solid-fuel, short-range ballistic missiles that are easier to hide, harder to strike down and capable of hitting all of South Korea, weapons experts have said.