US President Donald Trump on Thursday brushed off North Korea’s testing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, saying that planned talks with Pyongyang will go ahead anyway.
“They want to talk and we’ll be talking to them,” Trump told reporters at the White House in his first public reaction to North Korea’s announcement of what it called a “new phase” in its arsenal.
“We’ll see,” Trump added when asked if the missile test had gone too far for him.
The test was by far the most significant since Pyongyang first began a dialogue with Washington in 2018 overpressure to give up its nuclear weapons. Analysts said the new capability marks a significant step in boosting that program.
Trump has said he has no problem with a string of short-range rocket tests conducted by North Korea, calling them “normal.”
But a proven submarine-based missile capability would take the North’s arsenal to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a second-strike capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.
“The new-type ballistic missile was fired in vertical mode” on Wednesday in the waters off Wonsan Bay, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, identifying the weapon as a Pukguksong-3.
“The successful new-type SLBM test-firing comes to be of great significance as it ushered in a new phase in containing the outside forces’ threat,” it added.
The North’s leader Kim Jong Un sent “warm congratulations” to research units involved in the launch.
Kim has personally supervised recent land-based missile tests.