Shanahan breaks with Trump on North Korea missile tests

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanUS identifies remains of more American soldiers from North Korea Overnight Defense: Republican blocks disaster aid package that includes money to rebuild military bases | Trump revives fight over aircraft carrier catapults | Trump contradicts ally, aide on North Korea missile tests GOP rep says intel on Iran is ‘credible’ MORE said he sees recent North Korean missile tests as a violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR), breaking with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat to announce Senate bid Wednesday against Lindsey Graham Harris praises Amash for calling for Trump’s impeachment: He has ‘put country before party’ NY Times reporter wears wedding dress to cover Trump in Japan after last-minute dress code MORE.

Asked a direct question about whether the short-range missiles violated the resolution, Shanahan said that they did.

“I — let me just be clear, the short — these were short range missiles and those are a violation of the UNSCR.  Yes,” Shanahan said, according to a transcript of the exchange.  

The remarks marked a break with Trump, who has repeated in recent days that he was not bothered by the tests of short-range missiles earlier this month and that he is still hopeful for diplomacy with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnUS identifies remains of more American soldiers from North Korea Ocasio-Cortez responds to being featured in ‘enemies of freedom’ video at baseball game Trump claims he was ‘sticking up for’ Biden with ‘low IQ’ comment MORE.

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“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me.”

“All I know is that there have been no nuclear tests. There have been no ballistic missiles going out. There have been no long-range missiles going out. And I think that someday we’ll have a deal,” Trump added Monday in Japan, saying he was not “personally” bothered by the tests.

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Trump’s comments on the missile tests contradicted comments from both his national security adviser, John BoltonJohn Robert BoltonOvernight Defense: Republican blocks disaster aid package that includes money to rebuild military bases | Trump revives fight over aircraft carrier catapults | Trump contradicts ally, aide on North Korea missile tests To avoid war with Iran, US needs to deal — starting with a concession Trump’s Africa initiative to be unveiled next month: Still a work in progress MORE, and the leader of Japan, a key U.S. ally.

“U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from firing any ballistic missiles,” Bolton told reporters in Tokyo on Saturday. “In terms of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, there is no doubt about that.”

Trump is eager to reach a denuclearization deal with North Korea, a deal that has evaded past administrations.

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