N Korea sig­nals de­fi­ance of US with failed mis­sile test

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - WORLD - Yash­want Raj

The day after US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump warned of a “ma­jor, ma­jor con­flict” and his aides called for “painful” puni­tive mea­sures, North Korea test-fired a mis­sile that failed to fly far but sent a firm mes­sage that it will not be cowed down.

The sur­face-to-sur­face mis­sile that did not clear the North Korean shore­line came just hours after sec­re­tary of state Rex Tiller­son’s call at the UN for an united front.

Hours after the failed test, the White House re­sponded with a state­ment that the ad­min­is­tra­tion was aware of the “most re­cent North Korean mis­sile test” and that “the Pres­i­dent has been briefed”.

Trump fol­lowed that up with a tweet, his pre­ferred so­cial me­dia plat­form: “North Korea dis­re­spected the wishes of China & its highly re­spected Pres­i­dent when it launched, though un­suc­cess­fully, a mis­sile to­day. Bad!”

This was the 75th mis­sile test by North Korea un­der Kim Jong Un’s watch since 2011 and at least the eighth since Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion in Jan­uary; the first came dur­ing Ja­panese pre­mier Shinzo Abe’s visit as Trump’s guest at his Florida re­sort in Fe­bru­ary.

Trump, who told Reuters in an in­ter­view ear­lier that there was a chance the US “could end up hav­ing a ma­jor, ma­jor con­flict with North Korea”, has tried to per­suade China to use its con­sid­er­able in­flu­ence to rein in its client state.

But, he has in­sisted, the US was will­ing to go it alone if China, which buys 85% of North Korean ex­ports, seemed dis­in­clined, and his tweet on Fri­day ap­peared to be an at­tempt to nudge, and goad, Bei­jing to do more.

AP

The US air­craft car­rier USS Carl Vin­son on Sat­ur­day kicked off a joint drill with the South Korean navy.

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