US President Donald Trump voiced confidence Saturday that North Korea's Kim Jong-un would not "break his promise," after South Korea said Pyongyang had launched several unidentified projectiles into the sea.
"Anything in this very interesting world is possible, but I believe that Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it," Trump tweeted.
"He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!" added the US president, in response to what could be Pyongyang's first short-range missile launch for more than a year.
The tests were the first missile launch since 2017 as it steps up pressure against Washington after a failed nuclear summit.
The North fired an unidentified short-range missile from the city of Wonsan around 9am (0000 GMT), South Korea's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. The Office said it was conducting joint analysis with the United States.
Anything in this very interesting world is possible, but I believe that Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it. He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2019
Several missiles flew 70 kms to 200 kms (44-124 miles), the Joint Chiefs of Staff said later.
The launch is the first since the North fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in November 2017, before declaring the building of its nuclear force complete and extending an olive branch to the South and the United States.
Kimhas vowed to no longer test nuclear weapons or ICBMs, but the North has conducted other weapons tests since then.
The missile firing, coming after the North's test of what it called a tactical weapons system, added to the pressure it has exerted on Washington in talks on ending the North's nuclear programme.
"It also seems clear that North Korea is angry over what appears to be a lack of flexibility in the Trump administration’s position on relieving sanctions, sticking to a policy of 'maximum pressure'," said Harry Kazianis at the Center for the National Interest, a think-tank.
Kim has held two summit meetings with US President Donald Trump, the second in February in Vietnam, but the two failed to make progress on ending the North's nuclear programme due to disagreement on weapons dismantlement and sanctions relief.