WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un against hostile military actions, even as Pyongyang announced it had conducted "a very important test" at a satellite launching site.
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way," Trump said on Twitter.
"He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," the U.S. leader said. "He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November. North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearize as promised. NATO, China, Russia, Japan, and the entire world is unified on this issue!"
Trump's remarks came after North Korea's state media said the test was conducted Saturday at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station 7, a long-range rocket launching site station in Tongch'ang-ri, a part of North Pyongang Province located near the border of China.
The government-run Korean Central News Agency said the results "will have an important effect on changing the strategic position of the DPRK once again in the near future," it added, using an acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. But the report did not say what kind of test was performed at the site.
The North Korean announcement came a day after CNN reported that Planet Labs, a commercial satellite imagery company, had detected activity at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, including the image of a large shipping container.
This year has been one of North Korea’s busiest in terms of missile launches. Saturday's test comes as North Korea continues to emphasize its declared end-of-year deadline for the United States to change its approach to stalled nuclear talks.
Pyongyang has carried out 13 rounds of short- or medium-range launches since May. Most experts say nearly all of the tests have involved some form of ballistic missile technology.
Earlier this month, Trump, in answering reporters' questions about North Korea at the NATO summit in London, said, "Now we have the most powerful military we’ve ever had and we’re by far the most powerful country in the world. And, hopefully, we don’t have to use it, but if we do, we’ll use it. If we have to, we’ll do it.”
North Korea responded in kind. “Anyone can guess with what action the DPRK will answer if the U.S. undertakes military actions against the DPRK,” Pak Jong Chon, head of the Korean People’s Army, said on state media. “One thing I would like to make clear is that the use of armed forces is not the privilege of the U.S. only."
North Korea last tested an intercontinental ballistic missile in November 2017 and conducted a nuclear test in September 2017.
In April 2018, Kim announced a self-imposed moratorium on ICBM and nuclear tests, saying North Korea “no longer need(s)” those tests. Recently, however, North Korean officials have issued reminders that North Korea’s pause on ICBM and nuclear tests was self-imposed and can be reversed.