New images reveal North Korea missile launch in defiance of Donald Trump

North Korea launched what was most likely a short-range missile on Friday, testing his relationship with Trump

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 5, 2019 3:45PM (EDT)

Kim Jong-un; Donald Trump (Getty/Salon)
Kim Jong-un; Donald Trump (Getty/Salon)

A new report reveals that North Korea launched what was most likely a short-range missile on Friday, testing Kim Jong-un's fraying relationship with President Donald Trump.

"The location of the launch, the thick, smoky appearance of the exhaust and the fact that there is only one rocket trail all suggest this was the short-range ballistic missile that North Korea showed in its propaganda," Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute, said when explaining why the American government believes North Korea test launched a missile, according to CNN. This marks the first North Korean missile test since 2017, before Trump engaged in a concerted effort to develop a positive relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

When asked about the missile test on a number of news programs on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the American government does not trust the North Korean government but hopes to be able to work with the Kim Jong-un regime on bilateral diplomatic issues.

"We don't expect chairman Kim to tell us the truth. That's why we're going to verify any denuclearization that takes place, that's why we will ensure that we see actual on-the-ground outcomes. We're not going to take anyone's word for it," Pompeo told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday. He also told ABC News' Jonathan Karl that "we still believe that there's an opportunity to get a negotiated outcome where we get fully verified denuclearization. Chairman Kim has repeated that. He's repeated that quite recently, in fact. So, we hope that this act that he took over the weekend won't get in the way. We want to get back to the table. We want to continue to have these conversations."

He added, "The sanctions, the global sanctions put in place by the UN Security Council, they're still in place, and so the pressure on Chairman Kim to continue down this path, to achieve the outcome that everyone — you have to remember, this took place — this attack took place — or excuse me, these launches took place just after he met with Vladimir Putin. And so clearly Chairman Kim has not been able to get precisely what he wanted, but we hope that we can get back to the table and find the path forward. We're further along than we were a year ago and we hope we can continue to make progress."

When Salon spoke with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (who served under President Bill Clinton) in January, she discussed her concerns about Trump's relationship with Kim prior to their summit in Vietnam, which ultimately ended unsuccessfully.

"I do believe in diplomacy," Albright explained. "But I also do believe in prepared diplomacy. I was asked whether the Singapore summit was a win-win or a 'Kim win.' It was a 'Kim win' because the President canceled some exercises that we have with our allies, the Japanese and the South Koreans, and it’s unclear to me what the North Koreans gave or what it is that they put up to this, especially since they have not agreed to any kind of way of an inventory or international way of figuring out what they have and what denuclearization — which is what we are trying to get — what is the measurement of that, what’s going on."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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