N Korea fires another ballistic missile in defiance of world pressure
North Korea fired another ballistic missile early Saturday morning but it exploded within seconds of being launched, American and South Korean defense officials said.
Coinciding with renewed diplomatic and military pressure on North Korea from the Trump administration, this latest launch underscores both Kim Jong Un's determination to make technical progress on his weapons programs and his defiance amid international pressure. President Donald Trump, who was briefed on the launch soon afterward, took to Twitter to reiterate his expectation that Chinese President Xi Jinping use his leverage to make Kim stop. "North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!" he tweeted.
Trump has repeatedly called on China, North Korea's neighbor and largest trading partner, to punish the regime in Pyongyang, and has warned Xi that if he doesn't act, the United States will.
But Ralph Cossa, president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Pacific Forum, said that the Trump administration appeared to be struggling to figure out how to deal with North Korea. "When it comes to foreign policy, and Korea policy in particular, the Trump administration has had a pretty steep learning curve, and it has been a lot more curves than learning," Cossa said. Saturday's launch marked the 75th missile test since Kim Jong Un became leader of North Korea at the end of 2011, according to a Nuclear Threat Initiative database.
American and South Korean defense officials said that the unidentified missile appears to have exploded soon after being launched at about 5 am North
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