Donald Trump has claimed that recent North Korean missile tests do not breach an agreement between Washington and Pyongyang – as he said Kim Jong Un has a “great and beautiful vision for his country”.
In a series of messages on Twitter, the US president said the launches may be in breach of United Nations resolutions, but not a deal the pair agreed at an historic meeting last year.
Mr Trump said: “These missiles tests are not a violation of our signed Singapore agreement, nor was there discussion of short range missiles when we shook hands.
“There may be a United Nations violation, but Chairman Kim does not want to disappoint me with a violation of trust, there is far too much for North Korea to gain – the potential as a Country, under Kim Jong Un’s leadership, is unlimited.
“Also, there is far too much to lose.
“I may be wrong, but I believe that Chariman [sic] Kim has a great and beautiful vision for his country, and only the United States, with me as President, can make that vision come true.
“He will do the right thing because he is far too smart not to, and he does not want to disappoint his friend, President Trump!”
North Korea has carried out three missile launches in just over a week, the most recent one early on Friday morning local time.
It came after North Korean officials confirmed late on Wednesday that Mr Kim had overseen test firings of a new multiple rocket launcher system.
The launches are being viewed as a warning to the US and its ally South Korea ahead of annual military drills in the region.
North Korea sees them as preparation for an invasion, but Washington and Seoul have refused to halt them.
Mr Trump said in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s launch that he was “not worried”, describing the missiles as “very standard” and “short range”.
He added: “I think it’s very much under control, very much under control.”
At the UN, Britain, France and Germany urged North Korea to engage in “meaningful” talks with the US, adding that international sanctions need to be fully enforced until Pyongyang has dismantled its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
British ambassador to the UN Karen Pierce said: “We urge North Korea to take concrete steps towards its complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the US.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the region, and said the US “stands ready” to continue talks with North Korea.
In June, Mr Trump and Mr Kim agreed to revive talks that broke down in February after they were unable to agree on US demands for North Korea’s full denuclearisation and Pyongyang’s insistence on sanctions relief.
That meeting saw Mr Trump become the first serving US president to cross into North Korea.
He shook hands with Kim at the border line on the Korean peninsula’s demilitarised zone (DMZ), the heavily fortified area which separates the North and South.
The two countries are technically still at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice and not a peace treaty.