Amid the ever-widening scope of the government's probe into members of Donald Trump's campaign possibly colluding with Russia, the White House's response to a North Korean missile test is a tad strange. On May 13, days after South Korea elected a new president, North Korea launched a ballistic missile which landed in the ocean off Russia's coast. While it's not unusual for any White House administration to express concern for countries neighbouring Kim Jong Un's dictatorship, the wording and phrasing in this one do stand out as unusual.
An unusual Trump administration statement on North Korea - it begins with a Russian perspective. pic.twitter.com/NQuVlM3Hey
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) May 14, 2017
"With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil, in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan," Press Secretary Sean Spicer's statement read, "The President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased."
According to Reuters, the missile travelled 692 kilometres before landing in the water. North Korea typically tests rockets in the sea between Russia and Japan; however, this missile travelled farther than the rocket they tested in February. Russia borders the peninsula along the north-eastern edge of North Korea.
Given the current administration's endeavour to distance itself from Russia, albeit rather inconsistently, the White House's statement is even more peculiar. Furthermore, Russia is not exactly considered an ally, while Japan certainly is.
If the White House and President Trump truly hope to prove their disassociation from Russia, perhaps they should reassess future statements so that they avoid questioning whether or not "Russia is pleased."