Trump says Kim won't want to 'disappoint me'

US President Donald Trump (Reuters File Photo)

US President Donald Trump brushed aside North Korea's missile tests on Friday saying that while they may violate a UN resolution Kim Jong Un will not want to "disappoint" him because he has "too much to lose."

Underlining his intense personal support for North Korea's leader, Trump fired off three tweets playing down the short-range missile launches.

"There may be a United Nations violation, but Chairman Kim does not want to disappoint me with a violation of trust, there is far too much for North Korea to gain," Trump said.

"Also, there is far too much to lose," Trump said. "I may be wrong, but I believe that (Chairman) Kim has a great and beautiful vision for his country, and only the United States, with me as President, can make that vision come true."

Nuclear-armed North Korea is barred from ballistic missile tests under UN resolutions. Its recent short-range missile tests have been condemned by European members of the UN Security Council.

Trump dismissed the tests on Thursday as "very standard."

In his latest tweets, Trump again suggested his personal touch will be enough to persuade Kim to reverse the regime's years-long push for a nuclear arsenal.

"He will do the right thing because he is far too smart not to, and he does not want to disappoint his friend, President Trump!" the US president said.

Trump has invested a huge amount of political capital in his attempt to persuade Kim to end the country's isolation and give up its nuclear weapons.

However, despite three face-to-face meetings and numerous letter exchanges, Trump has little to show for his diplomacy.

In Bangkok, on the sidelines of a regional meeting of foreign ministers, a senior US State Department official said the launches had not gone unnoticed.

"Obviously any kind of provocations are unwelcome in this environment," the official said.

"And those provocations, paired with a failure to follow through on their own commitments to engage in diplomacy, were noticed by virtually every country attending this summit meeting over the last three days," the official said.

Kim and Trump agreed to resume denuclearisation talks during their June encounter in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the peninsula, but that working-level dialogue has yet to begin.

Pyongyang is furious over joint US-South Korean military exercises due to start next week, and analysts say the launches are intended to raise the pressure on Washington.

But the situation could also see negotiations delayed until late this year, they said.

North Korea carried out its third weapons test in eight days on Friday, according to the South Korean military.

The North fired two projectiles from its east coast that flew some 220 kilometres (140 miles), reaching speeds of Mach 6.9, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said -- unusually fast for a short-range weapon.

The flight profile was similar to Wednesday's test and Seoul's presidential office said the weapons were likely "a new type of short-range ballistic missile."

Pyongyang described the two devices it fired earlier this week as a "newly developed large-calibre multiple launch guided rocket system."

The launches come after Pyongyang fired two devices last week that Seoul said were short-range ballistic missiles, one of them travelling almost 700 kilometres.

Kim had been "emboldened" by his DMZ handshake with Trump, said Jean Lee of the Wilson Center in Washington, and was "seeking to create a sense of urgency on the Korean Peninsula to improve his hand in anticipated nuclear negotiations."

"This is Kim's answer to Trump's claim that he's in 'no hurry' to negotiate a nuclear deal," she added.

After high tensions in 2017, when the two leaders traded personal insults and threats of war, last year saw a rapid diplomatic rapprochement.

Pyongyang has signalled that further negotiations could be derailed by Washington and Seoul's refusal to scrap the annual manoeuvres between their forces, describing last week's launch as a "solemn warning to the South Korean warmongers."

Pyongyang had an "array of military platforms" it could test in response to the exercises, said Harry Kazianis of the Center for the National Interest.

"This tit-for-tat brinkmanship will clearly delay working-level talks for at least until the fall to allow both sides to save face," he said.

The Pentagon has said the joint military drills will press ahead.

There are 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea to protect it against its nuclear-armed neighbour, many of them based south of Seoul at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek Washington's biggest overseas military facility.

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