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World  

Trump breaks with Japan

President Donald Trump said Monday he is not "personally" bothered by recent short-range missile tests that North Korea conducted this month, breaking with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is hosting the president on four-day state visit full of pageantry.

Standing beside Trump at a news conference after hours of talks, Abe disagreed with the U.S. president, saying the missile tests violated U.N. Security Council resolutions and were "of great regret." Abe, who has forged a strong friendship with Trump and agrees with him on many issues, is concerned because the short-range missiles pose a threat to Japan's security.

Trump was invited to Japan to be the first world leader to meet with its new emperor . Despite being far from Washington, he didn't miss the chance to lob another broadside against former Vice-President Joe Biden, one of the Democrats seeking to challenge Trump in next year's presidential election. North Korea's Kim Jong Un recently criticized Biden as having a low IQ, and Trump told the world he agreed with the authoritarian leader's assessment.

The visit was designed to highlight the U.S.-Japan alliance and showcase the warm relations between the leaders. Trump said he and Abe deliberated over economic issues, including trade and Iran, during hours of talks at the Akasaka Palace, but North Korea's recent firing of short-range missiles emerged as an area of disagreement.

When asked if he was bothered by the missile tests, Trump said: "No, I'm not. I am personally not."

The Republican president has sought to downplay the significance of the missile tests, even though his own national security adviser, John Bolton, said over the weekend that they violated U.N. resolutions.

Trump continues to hold out hope of getting Kim to agree to give up his nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, despite two summits he's had with the North Korean leader that produced no concrete pledge to denuclearize the peninsula.

Trump praised Kim, calling him a "smart man" who might have launched the missiles earlier this month to "get attention."

"All I know is there have been no nuclear tests, no ballistic missiles going out, no long-range missiles going out and I think that someday we'll have a deal," Trump said, adding that he is in "no rush."

Trump is correct that North Korea has not recently tested a long-range missile that could reach the U.S. But earlier this month, North Korea fired off a series of short-range missiles that alarmed U.S. allies in closer proximity to North Korea, including Japan. The tests broke a pause in North Korea's ballistic missile launches that began in late 2017.

Abe reiterated his previous statement that the tests were conducted in defiance of the U.N.



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