Hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed the UN Security Council and urged them to "act before North Korea does," Kim Jong-un reacted by launching a missile. The test, a failure, was the second failed test in as many weeks.
The South Korean military said in a statement that the missile was launched from a base northeast of Pyongyang, and that it only flew "for several minutes" before breaking up. United States Pacific Command spokesman Cmdr. David Benham said the missile "did not leave North Korean territory," and that the launch did not pose a threat to North America.
President Trump didn't answer reporters' questions about the launch when he returned to the White House from Atlanta, but later admonished Pyongyang via Twitter.
North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2017
Trump hosted Chinese president Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in early April and commended him for "trying very hard" with North Korea. On the eve of that visit, North Korea tested a ballistic missile, which was also a failure.
North Korea has been a major focus for Trump this week. The White House hosted a luncheon for UN Security Council ambassadors where he addressed the North Korean threat and held a briefing for the entire Senate. Thursday, in an interview with Reuters, Trump said there is a possibility of "major, major conflict" with North Korea. One military analyst, John Kirby, told CNN the latest missile test was an act of defiance:
"This is Kim giving us the finger, giving China the finger, giving the UN the finger," he said. "I think timing is absolutely planned and preordained in his mind."
Though North Korea's missile tests have largely ended in failure since late March, there were several successful tests in February and early March, most notably a successful test of a new intermediate-range ballistic missile it claims is capable of holding a nuclear payload.