North Korea carried out its third weapons test in eight days on Friday, according to the South’s military, but US President Donald Trump said he had “no problem” with the spate of launches by Pyongyang.
The nuclear-armed North is barred from ballistic missile tests under UN resolutions and its actions have drawn condemnation from European members of the Security Council but a comparatively sanguine response from Trump, who has met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un three times, generating global headlines on each occasion.
“I have no problem. We’ll see what happens but short-range (missiles) are very standard,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a rally in Ohio.
Kim and Trump agreed to resume denuclearization talks during their impromptu June encounter in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula, but that working-level dialogue has yet to begin.
Pyongyang is furious over joint US-South Korean military exercises due to start next week.
The North fired two projectiles from its east coast in the early hours of Friday that flew around 220 kilometers (140 miles), reaching altitudes of 25 kilometers and speeds of Mach 6.9, the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said — unusually fast for a short-range weapon.
The flight profile was similar to Wednesday’s test and Seoul’s presidential office said it was highly likely to be “a new type of short-range ballistic missile”.
Pyongyang described the two devices it fired earlier this week as a “newly developed large-calibre multiple launch guided rocket system”.
The launches come after Pyongyang fired two devices last week that Seoul said were short-range ballistic missiles, one of them travelling almost 700 kilometers.