(TOKYO) — Seemingly contradicting his national security adviser, President Donald Trump on Sunday played down North Korea’s recent missile tests and said they were not a concern for him. The comments tweeted during his trip to Japan were sure to unnerve leaders of the U.S. ally that, unlike America, is threatened by short-range weapons from its Asian neighbor.
Trump also said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un’s criticism of Joe Biden, the former vice president who is among the Democrats running for the White House in 2020, made him smile.
The remarks were the latest example of Trump’s willingness to publicly undermine his senior advisers, flout democratic norms and side with totalitarian leaders.
“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” Trump tweeted in one of a flurry of early morning messages.
North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2019
“Some” of his “people” appear to include national security adviser John Bolton, who told reporters at a briefing Saturday before Trump arrived in Tokyo that a series of short-range missile tests by North Korea this month violated of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
“There is no doubt about that,” said Bolton, citing the May 4 and May 9 tests that ended a pause in launches that began in late 2017. Trump ignored a shouted question Sunday about whether he agreed with Bolton’s assessment and his press secretary did not seem to back up Bolton.
Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “we know that the activities at no point that took place over the last several weeks have been a threat to the United States or our allies.” She said Trump “still feels comfortable and confident in the relationship that he has with Chairman Kim.”
Trump and other administration officials have tried to play down the significance of the tests, insisting they do not violate an agreement Trump reached with Kim for a moratorium on launches.
“The moratorium was focused, very focused, on intercontinental missile systems, the ones that threaten the United States,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a recent television interview. That raised alarm bells in Japan, where short-range missiles pose a serious threat because of the country’s proximity to North Korea.
Unlike several other leaders in the region, Abe has yet to meet with Kim, leaving Japan to rely on the U.S. as an intermediary and advocate with North Korea. Abe recently offered to meet Kim without preconditions in an effort to restore diplomatic ties.
Trump in his tweet said he had “confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me,” while at the same time embracing Kim’s recent attacks on Biden, whose name he misspelled.
Trump said he “smiled” when Kim “called Swampman Joe Bidan a low IQ individual, & worse.”
“Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” Trump asked.
Trump later offered a new tweet with the correct “Biden” spelling.
North Korea this week past called Biden a “fool of low IQ” and an “imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being” after Biden accused Trump of cozying up to “dictators and tyrants” such as Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin during his campaign launch speech.
Biden’s campaign would not comment on the record Sunday, but a spokesman for his campaign, Andrew Bates said this past Wednesday that given Biden’s “record of standing up for American values and interests, it’s no surprise that North Korea would prefer that Donald Trump remain in the White House.”
- Updates from the 3pm BST kick-off at Wembley
- Interview: Lee Cattermole on his injury fight
- And why not email Rob with your thoughts
47 min “Seeing this fixture again evokes brilliant memories from the first such encounter,” says Nick Veale. “Although not an Addick, it was insisted that I came along by my best mate and Charlton season-ticket holding fanatic, as I had boasted a record of never seeing them lose when I attended the Valley when his Dad couldn’t go. My record was under threat in the semi against the Tractor Boys but saw that one out. So, wearing a bright yellow Fenerbahce shirt [I don’t do red in my part of London], I happily took my place in the stands. All was good. At half-time, we said, ‘Forty-five minutes to go, and then we’ll sink some fine Young’s Special’. 115 minutes later, we were gibbering emotionally drained wrecks! Happy days. Big shout for Matt McGinty as I’m sure he is in the crowd today. Sorry, I can’t be…”
I miss the late 1990s. Nobody had a clue how miserable life could be.
46 min Charlton get the second half under way. It looks like they have changed from 3-4-1-2 to a diamond midfield, hence the substitution.Continue reading...
- Hamilton leads from pole in Monte Carlo
- Memory Lane: Monaco GP – in pictures
- Email John or tweet @JohnBrewin_
Here’s the final standings after today.
“This one’s for Niki,” says Bono in the garage. Hamilton is silent, and there are undoubtedly emotions for Niki Lauda. A red cap celebration can begin. That was gutsy drive from Hamilton, who was driving against himself and his belief in his car’s tyres for so long in the race. He could have let Verstappen go clear and still won due to that five-second penalty but is such a competitor that he wanted to take the chequered flag first.Continue reading...
Focus on your breathing, stay still – and keep your eyes on the horizon
Don’t travel on small planes, which tend to be worse than larger jets. If you are on a boat, keep towards the centre, where there is less movement. In a car, being the driver helps; the worst place to sit is in the back seat, because it is harder to see out the window. Unfortunately, this is where children typically sit – and people are most susceptible to travel sickness from the age of eight to about 12, says John Golding, a professor of applied psychology at the University of Westminster. Adults who suffer migraines are also more susceptible.Continue reading...
Siberian farmer Vasily Kamotsky fells opponents with a single blow – attracting hilarity and outrage
Vasily Kamotsky does not so much slap his opponents as cudgel them with his massive palm. He was crowned the slapping champion at the Siberian Power Show, a competition so esoteric and objectionable that it seems tailor-made to be stumbled upon during a 3am YouTube binge.
However, Kamotsky was clear-eyed when it came to what he thought had prompted his sudden rise to prominence. “Two knockouts,” he said when reached by phone in his small town along the Trans-Siberian railroad. “I don’t think anyone had seen that before.”Continue reading...
Leader goes ‘one step further’ than Chuka Umunna, who called Lib Dem pact ‘sensible’
The leader of Change UK, Heidi Allen, has said her party could merge with with the Liberal Democrats, appearing to put her at odds with Chuka Umunna.
On Saturday, Umunna, a Change UK MP and spokesman, said the Independent Group should form a pact not to stand against Lib Dems in the next general election.Continue reading...