Trump Mum about Failed N. Korea Missile Launch
By The Associated Press
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - President Donald Trump was uncharacteristically quiet about the failed launch of a North Korean missile from the country's east coast.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Trump and his military team "are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment."
Trump has been leaning on China to put pressure on North Korea, but has also threatened to take on the country alone if necessary. "I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will!" he tweeted Thursday. "U.S.A."
The missile exploded during launch Sunday from the country's east coast, U.S. and South Korean officials said, a high-profile failure that comes as a powerful U.S. aircraft carrier approaches the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.
It wasn't immediately clear what kind of missile was fired from the city of Sinpo, but the failure will sting in Pyongyang because it comes a day after one of the biggest North Korean propaganda events of the year— celebrations of the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather.
Washington and Seoul will try hard to figure out what exactly North Korea fired. This matters because while North Korea regularly launches short-range missiles, it is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target U.S. troops in Asia and, eventually, the U.S. mainland.