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VPOTUS travel pool gaggle notes
Andrew Beatty • Agence France-Presse
April 16, 2017: 03:38 PM

A "White House foreign policy advisor" gaggled on background a half hour before we landed. Here is the update they provided:

"It was not an ICMB, initial reports said it's probably a medium range missile, (we) detected launch, we had good intelligence before the launch and good intelligence after the launch. It failed after about four to five seconds. It launched from the same point as their missile launch April 5th from the Navy base there."

"It's a failed test, it follows another failed test so really no need to reinforce their failure we've got options, we've got a range of options both militarily, diplomatic and others so we have a wide array of tools at disposal for the president should he choose to use them. But for this particular case if they took the time and energy to launch a missile that failed we don't need to expend any resources against that."

Is the US planning to introduce nuclear arms to South Korea? "We took great efforts to get nuclear warheads off the peninsula. So that's not in the current plan."

"We weren't surprised by it, we were anticipating it. It wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when. The good news is that after five seconds it fizzled out."

Do you think this is less provocative than a nuclear test? "I do, I do," the official said. "A medium range missile, unfortunately we've seen many of them."

"If it had of been a nuclear test then other actions would have been taken from the US."

Should we still expect a nuclear test? "He's stated that he wants to do both, he wants to do a nuclear test and a missile launch. We've seen one it doesn't prevent him from doing the other."

What else has China committed to do? "There were a number of steps that were discussed down in Mar-a-Lago between President Xi and President Trump, again we've seen the Chinese already take some initial steps towards that," the official said, citing the turning back of the coal ships. "Many steps still to take, but I think it's a good first step."

Timing for THAAD to be fully deployed and operational - "it's moving, there are still some things to work out…. as in any government decision it may slip a couple of weeks or months. It's moving but candidly until they get president… in the early part of May I think its rightfully so it should be a decision for the next president"

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