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Trump says he does not think North Korea is ready to negotiate

U.S. President Donald Trump responds to questions from reporters in front of a portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt after an event centered on a proposal to end surprise medical billing in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States was looking very seriously at North Korea’s latest missile launch and that while North Korea wants to negotiate with the United States, he does not think it is ready to do so.

“We’re looking at it very seriously right now. They were smaller missiles, they were short-range missiles,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“Nobody’s happy about it but we’re taking a good look and we’ll see.”

North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles on Thursday, its second such test in less than a week and an apparent protest by leader Kim Jong Un after Trump rejected his calls for sanctions relief at a summit in February.

“The relationship continues ... I know they want to negotiate, they’re talking about negotiating. But I don’t think they’re ready to negotiate,” Trump said.

North Korea has effectively pulled back from engagement with Washington since the February summit, which fell apart without agreement on U.S. demands for the dismantling of Pyongyang’s nuclear program and Kim’s demands for relief from punishing sanctions.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by James Dalgleish