President Trump said Thursday that the U.S. would continue negotiations with North Korea regarding the latter’s nuclear missile program, despite North Korea’s test of an underwater-based ballistic missile on Wednesday.
North Korea confirmed the launch on Thursday. It was the first such test in three years and took place just as talks between the nation and the Trump administration were set to resume this weekend at an undisclosed location following an eight month hiatus.
“They want to talk and we’ll be talking to them,” Trump told reporters at the White House. When asked if the recent missile test was a step too far for him, Trump responded, “We’ll see.”
North Korea has completed a series of short-range missile launches in recent months. The country said Wednesday’s test represented a significant step forward in its military capabilities.
As North Korea does not have a fleet of submarines, the launch was probably conducted from a barge or underwater platform, according to U.S. officials.
Du Hyeogn Cha, a visiting scholar at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, South Korea, commented that “The North is trying to convey a message that time is not on the side of the United States and that it could take a different path if the working-level talks don’t go the way it wanted.”
In 2018, Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore, becoming the first U.S. president to meet with a North Korean head of state in-person. Trump has been trying to coax the reclusive country to give up its nuclear weapons program but a subsequent meeting with Kim in Vietnam ended without progress. Talks between the two nations froze shortly thereafter.