Another missile test

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North Korea has fired its second missile test in a week.

A sign that its displeasure with the US-South Korea relationship is growing.

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North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast, according to South Korea’s military, the second such launch in a week. Picture: KIM HONG-JI / REUTERS

The missile was launched early Wednesday morning local time near Wonsan, a city on North Korea’s eastern coast. The country had fired two short-range missiles from a similar location last Thursday.

Thursday was the first time South Korea had officially accused North Korea of testing a ballistic missile since 2017. Though it doesn’t break any pacts with the US, the United Nations forbids the country from firing ballistic missiles of any kind.

The missiles are meant to send a message: Kim Jong Un wants South Korea to cancel its annual joint military exercise with the US next month – and has threatened to scrap negotiations with the US and resume nuclear and long-range missile tests if its wishes aren’t granted.

This is bad timing for the Trump administration: The tests came the same day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was hopeful of resuming stalled talks with North Korea. However, there’s been little progress in diplomatic efforts beyond photo ops.

Trump is desperate to keep diplomatic channels with North Korea open, which is why he’s seemingly willing to look the other way unless North Korea is testing nuclear weapons or long-range missiles. And some observers say it’s reasonable that the administration remains prudent when reacting to Kim’s provocations.

Others, however, are worried that Trump may be sending the wrong message: that Kim can get away with almost anything under Trump’s watch.

South and/or North Korea… The big dilemma.

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