TOKYO — North Korea fired another ballistic missile early Saturday morning, but it exploded within seconds of being launched, American and South Korean defense officials said.
Coinciding with renewed diplomatic and military pressure on North Korea from the Trump administration, this latest launch underscores both Kim Jong Un’s determination to make technical progress on his weapons programs and his defiance amid international pressure.
President Trump, who was briefed on the launch soon afterward, took to Twitter to reiterate his expectation that Chinese President Xi Jinping use his leverage to make Kim stop.
“North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!” he tweeted.
Trump has repeatedly called on China, North Korea’s neighbor and largest trading partner, to punish the regime in Pyongyang, and he has warned Xi that if he doesn’t act, the United States will.