Trump Says North Korea Firing Missiles is Okay, Because Kim Jong Un Has a 'Beautiful Vision for His Country'

President Donald Trump said on Friday that North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un's recent short-range missile tests did not violate their pact to pursue peace last year, expressing confidence in the young ruler's strategy.

In a series of tweets that followed North Korea's launching of what appeared to be a mobile short-range ballistic missile system last week, a multiple launch rocket system Wednesday and a yet unseen short-range weapon Friday, Trump asserted that the "tests are not a violation of our signed Singapore agreement, nor was there discussion of short range missiles when we shook hands." He acknowledged a potential violation of restrictions imposed by the United Nations on such ballistic missile launches in the elusive state, but argued that their mutual trust superseded this.

"Chairman Kim does not want to disappoint me with a violation of trust, there is far too much for North Korea to gain - the potential as a Country, under Kim Jong Un's leadership, is unlimited,. Also, there is far too much to lose," Trump wrote.

"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," he added. "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!"

north korea missile test may
North Korea tests what appeared to be a mobile short-range ballistic missile system near the resort city of Wonsan, May 9. The system bore some similarities to Russia's nuclear-capable Iskander system. Korean Central News Agency

Kim first announced an informal freeze on testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles in April of last year, just as he and Trump were embarking on what has become a historic peace process designed to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula in exchange for peace, security and the lifting of sanctions. Kim has so far maintained this pause, but resumed testing shorter-range weapons in May after the two men failed to come to an agreement at their last summit in February.

The May tests occurred a little more than a week apart and the South Korean military recorded projectiles firing 261 and 187 miles away, respectively, at a maximum height of around 31 miles. Images released by the official Korean Central News Agency showed mobile short-range ballistic missile systems that resembled Russia's Iskander platform.

Trump, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in's unprecedented meeting at the heavily fortified inter-Korean border appeared to signal new hope for dialogue, but there have been few public signs of progress since. North Korea then conducted another test involving an Iskander-like system last month, with the South Korean military reporting a range of 370 miles and a top altitude of 30 miles high and images again appearing on the Korean Central News Agency.

On Wednesday, North Korea conducted yet another weapons test, but this time images were only aired on the state-run Korean Central Television outlet and the launcher was partially censored. The South Korean military said that these projectiles flew about 155 miles and soared 19 miles in the air at their highest point in what appeared to be a trial for some sort of multiple rocket launcher system.

north korea rocket test launch
An image aired by Korean Central Television shows what the Korean Central News Agency described as a "newly-developed large-caliber multiple launch guided rocket system" at an undisclosed location in North Korea, July 31. KOREAN CENTRAL TELEVISION

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Asia for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in the Thai capital of Bangkok. He has expressed disappointment in recent days that North Korea did not present an opportunity to meet at some point during his time there.

Asked by Bloomberg TV about the recent launches and potential U.N. violations, Pompeo noted that North Korea still remained subject to some of the toughest international sanctions in the world and that the U.S. was still working with regional partners "to make sure that we have the capacity to ultimately deliver what Chairman Kim committed to back in June in Singapore, June a year ago back in Singapore, which is to fully denuclearize his country in exchange for—President Trump describes—a brighter future for the North Korean people."

"You should never doubt what we may be communicating to the North Koreans. There are conversations going on, goodness, even as we speak," he added. "But the diplomatic path is often fraught with bumps, tos and fros, forward and backward. We are still fully committed to achieving the outcome that we have laid out – the fully verified denuclearization of North Korea – and to do so through the use of diplomacy."

The top U.S. diplomat simply said "stay tuned" when questioned about news of a potential third U.S.-North Korea bilateral summit.