Trump targets North Korea, missile test in latest Twitter attack

The tweets came before the Pentagon publicly confirmed the missile test.

ByABC News
July 4, 2017, 8:25 AM

— -- President Trump took to Twitter to express his frustration over North Korea's latest missile test and called on the country's longtime ally China to intervene.

"North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?" he tweeted late Monday, presumably referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "Hard to believe that South Korea ... and Japan will put up with this much longer."

Trump went on to suggest that China, which shares a border with North Korea, could do something.

"Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all," he wrote.

The tweet, sent in two parts at 10:24 p.m. ET Monday, came before the Pentagon publicly confirmed the missile test.

Trump also tweeted about North Korea late last month, when he acknowledged that China's efforts to "help with North Korea" had "not worked out." Months earlier, he said he discovered that "it's not so easy" for China — North Korea's main trade partner — to rein in the country's leadership.

"After listening [to Chinese President Xi Jinping] for 10 minutes, I realized that not — it's not so easy. You know, I felt pretty strongly that they have — that they had a tremendous power over China," Trump said in an April interview with The Wall Street Journal. "I actually do think they do have an economic power, and they have certainly a border power to an extent, but they also — a lot of goods come in. But it's not what you would think. It's not what you would think."

U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials on Monday said North Korea launched an intermediate-range missile that flew for about 40 minutes and reached an altitude of about 1,500 miles.

North Korea later claimed that the missile was a longer-range intercontinental ballistic missile, which, if confirmed, would be the country's first such test.

ICBMs, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, typically have a minimum range of about 3,400 miles. The United States had not confirmed the missile type as of early this morning.

Trump last week warned North Korea that he and allied foreign leaders have lost patience with the regime, which has continually defied international calls for it to dismantle its nuclear program and halt its missile tests.

Speaking at a news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday, Trump called the North Korean regime "reckless and brutal" and said its "nuclear and ballistic missile programs require a determined response."

"The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. Many years it has failed," he said. "Frankly, that patience is over."

Trump added that the United States is working with South Korea, Japan and other partners "on a range of diplomatic, security and economic measures to protect our allies and our own citizens from this menace known as North Korea."

ABC News' Chris Donovan contributed to this report.

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