The main US news shows – CBS, NBC, ABC, etc. – have been going nuts saying the North Korean missile test was timed to take place during Trump’s dinner with Abe. Fortunately, I have seen former Ambassador Christopher Hill correctly say on BBC and one other show that the main concern for North Korea was testing the missile and that it was unlikely to have been specifically timed to challenge Trump.
It sounds like this was a new type missile, probably one using solid fuel rather than liquid, and therefore it was not just a rocket North Korea had lying around to launch whenever it wanted to. The media has played it up to make Trump look like a stupid wimp who doesn’t know how to respond to North Korea. They made a big deal about the fact that he discussed the launch during dinner and was reading papers by flashlight. The other interpretation of this incident is that Trump wasn’t panicked by the launch and didn’t let it interrupt his dinner. Furthermore he was able to consult with Japanese Prime Minister Aba in real time about it. Abe was much more affected by the launch than Trump, since Japan is much closer to North Korea. Trump was able to reassure Abe immediately that the US stood firmly with him.
The incident could well be interpreted as a show of strength rather than weakness, if the media had been so inclined. Jonathan Karl was almost livid as he falsely described the huge threat represented by the launch and Trump’s amateurish response. Karl struck me as a coward who was actually afraid. He should not be allowed to cover military news.