Trump wanted Japan to shoot down North Korean missiles earlier this year: report

President Trump has reportedly said Japan should have shot down missiles North Korea tested over the country earlier this year, sources told The Japan Times ahead of the president’s visit.

Diplomatic sources told the outlet that Trump made the comment during conversations with leaders of Southeast Asian countries while discussing the threat of North Korea’s advancing nuclear weapons program. 

North Korea in both August and September launched a ballistic missile over Japan that landed in the Pacific Ocean. 

The Japan Times reported that Trump said he could not understand why a country of samurai warriors would not shoot down the missile. 

While Trump has not made similar comments in the past, he has said that “talking is not the answer” to solving problems regarding North Korea and that force by the nation would be met with “fire and fury.”

Had Japan shot down the missile, it could have faced serious ramifications, such as a military response from North Korea. Trying and failing to shoot down the missile also could have had consequences. 

Shortly after the August test by North Korea, a U.S. warship successfully shot down a medium-range ballistic missile in a test launch off the coast of Hawaii.

The test near Hawaii marked the second time that an SM-6 missile intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile.

The international community has sought to ratchet up pressure on North Korea after it conducted a nuclear test in September. Pyongyang claimed it tested a hydrogen bomb.

The nuclear test, the North’s sixth and its first since Trump took office, spurred international condemnation and fresh United Nations Security Council sanctions.

Trump landed Sunday in Japan for the start of a 12-day Asia trip.


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