North Korea said on Saturday it had conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that proved its ability to strike America’s mainland, drawing a sharp warning from U.S. President Donald Trump and a rebuke from China.
However, later on Saturday Trump wrote on Twitter that he was “very disappointed” in China and that Beijing had done “nothing” for the United States in regards to North Korea, something he would not allow to continue.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally supervised the midnight launch of the missile on Friday night and said it was a “stern warning” for the United States that it would not be safe from destruction if it tries to attack, the North’s official KCNA news agency said.
North Korea’s state television broadcast pictures of the launch, showing the missile lifting off in a fiery blast in darkness and Kim cheering with military aides.
“The test-fire reconfirmed the reliability of the ICBM system, demonstrated the capability of making a surprise launch of the ICBM in any region and place any time, and clearly proved that the whole U.S. mainland is in the firing range of the DPRK missiles, (Kim) said with pride,” KCNA said.
DPRK is short for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
China, the North’s main ally, said it opposed North Korea’s “launch activities that run counter to Security Council resolutions and the common wishes of the international community.”
A foreign ministry statement added: “At the same time, China hopes all parties act with caution, to prevent tensions from continuing to escalate, to jointly protect regional peace and stability.”
In a tweet, Trump said, “I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet…”
“…they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!” he said in a subsequent tweet.
Trump, who railed against the huge U.S. trade imbalance with China throughout his 2016 election campaign, has been considering imposing broad tariffs on steel imports. These would be partly aimed at pushing China, considered the source of major global oversupply, to shutter excess steelmaking capacity.
The launch comes less than a month after the North conducted its first ICBM test in defiance of years of efforts led by the United States, South Korea and Japan to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
The North conducted its fourth and fifth nuclear tests last year and has engaged in an unprecedented pace of missile development that experts said significantly advanced its ability to launch longer-range ballistic missiles.
“By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people,” Trump said in a statement on Friday. “The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”