- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2019

President Trump on Friday downplayed North Korea’s decision to test short-range missiles, as the president tries to restart nuclear talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in the wake of his historic meeting at the demilitarized zone last month.

“They’re short-range missiles. My relationship is very good with Chairman Kim and we’ll see what happens, but they are short-range missiles,” he told White House reporters. “Many people have those missiles.”

It’s the second time this year that Mr. Trump has downplayed Mr. Kim’s decision to shoot off short-range missiles, as his administration tries to keep U.S.-North Korea talks on track.

North Korea fired both missiles into the sea off its eastern coastline Thursday in its first weapons launches in more than two months. South Korean officials said the missiles were fired from mobile launchers and flew at a maximum altitude of 30 miles.

Some analysts said the tests, coupled with recent photographs showing Mr. Kim inspecting a newly built military submarine, were a clear provocation and an attempt by the Kim regime to pre-empt joint U.S.-South Korea military drills slated for next month.

Mr. Trump, however, said Mr. Kim did not actually say it was a warning to the U.S.

The president has made its clear he’s more concerned about long-range missiles that can reach the U.S., even though the latest tests are of concern to allies like South Korea and Japan.

“Very standard missiles,” Mr. Trump said.

Guy Taylor contributed to this report.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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