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Trump warns N. Korea will face 'big problems' if it resumes ICBM launching: Woodward book

All News 12:18 September 13, 2020

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- North Korea would find itself in trouble "bigger than anybody's ever had before" if it resumes long-range missile tests, U.S. President Donald Trump was quoted as saying in a soon-to-be-published book.

In his upcoming book, "Rage," Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward said Trump made the remark in one of their 18 interviews held between December and July, though Trump dismissed short-range missile launches as no big deal.

"(Kim Jong-un) has tested short-range missiles. Which, by the way, every country has short-range missiles. There's no country that doesn't have them. Okay? It's not a big deal," Trump was quoted as saying.

"That doesn't mean after January he's not going to be doing something," Trump told Woodward, according to excerpts of the book obtained by Yonhap News Agency "If he shoots, he shoots. And then he's got big problems. Big, big problems. Bigger than anybody's ever had before."

The EPA photo shows the cover of the new book "Rage" by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward that is set to be released Sept. 15, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

It was unclear when the remark was made, but North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said during a key party meeting held on the eve of New Year's Day that he was no longer bound by his earlier pledges not to stage nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.

Pyongyang has not staged any nuclear or ICBM testing since then.

Woodward said Trump had stopped just short of revealing a new nuclear weapons system the U.S. has developed and that no one in the world, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, has even heard of.

"We have stuff that you haven't even seen or heard about. We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before," said Trump, according to Woodward.

The author says he later verified the existence of a new weapons system from sources that he said were surprised by the fact that Trump has even disclosed it.

North Korea staged its sixth and last nuclear test in September 2017, followed by its last ICBM test in November that year.

The communist state had since kept a moratorium on nuclear and weapons testing. Its withdrawal in late 2019 from the self-imposed moratorium came after Kim's second bilateral summit with Trump, held in Hanoi in February that year, ended without a deal.

Kim and Trump first met in Singapore in June 2018.

Hwasong-15 missiles on mobile launchers are displayed during a military parade at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang on Feb. 8, 2018, in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency the next day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

In the midst of North Korean provocations in 2017, Trump said his country came closer to a war with North Korea than anyone can imagine.

"Much closer than anyone would know. Much closer," Trump told Woodward when asked how close the countries were to war.

Trump insisted Kim too must have known.

"But he knows. I have a great relationship, let me just put it that way," Trump told Woodward.

Trump has often insisted, and more frequently in recent months with the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election coming up, that his good relationship with Kim may have been the only thing that prevented a war with the communist state.

"When I say that we got along and we've met, everyone says, 'Oh, that's so terrible.' No, it's a good thing. It's a good thing, not a bad thing. It's a good thing. Doesn't mean bad things don't happen, but it's a good thing," Trump has said of his meetings with Kim.


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