N. Korea fires ballistic missile ahead of Trump-Xi meeting

North Korea conducted its fourth missile test this year Wednesday morning by launching a projectile from the eastern port city of Sinpo in South Hamgyong Province at around 6:42 a.m., which peaked at an altitude of 189 kilometers (117 miles) and flew 60 kilometers for nine minutes before landing in the East Sea, according to the JCS.

The US military's Pacific Command said initial assessments suggest the KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile was sacked from a land-based facility rather than a submarine.

The missile landed in the Sea of Japan, the U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement.

"We have no further comment", US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in the statement.

North Korea last month carried further tests of a rocket engine that U.S. officials believe could be part of its program to develop the intercontinental ballistic missiles referred to by Thae.

Wednesday's firing was made as South Korean and United States troops were conducting annual military drills that North Korea views as an invasion rehearsal.

Robert Park, a human rights activist who was held in North Korea for 43 days in late 2009, said in a column in The Korea Herald in mid-March that the result of a first strike against North Korea would be catastrophic.

Seoul and Washington are now analysing both the missile type and the possible range of the missile launched by Pyongyang, the Yonhap news agency reported, adding that it was most likely a KN-15 medium range ballistic missile.

"As adversaries continue to pursue credible and advanced capabilities, we too must evolve our missile defense capabilities to outpace increasingly complex threats", she said.

Benham continued, "U.S. Pacific Command is fully committed to working closely with our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies to maintain security". North Korea carried out two nuclear tests past year.




FILE - In this March 14, 2017 file photo, a U.S. Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter approaches the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during the annual joint military exercise called Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States at an unidentified location in the global waters, east of the Korean Peninsula.

It said it imposed the new sanctions because North Korea's actions "violate multiple United Nations resolutions and constitute a grave threat to global peace and security in the region and beyond".

"The market is only starting to factor in recent developments regarding North Korea, and it now wants to figure out the geopolitical implications of the U.S".

South Korean officials said McMaster discussed the North's latest missile launch and the Trump-Xi summit in a call with his counterpart in Seoul, Kim Kwan-jin.

"This coordinated initiative could force North Korea to make real demilitarization concessions, while providing a win for both China and the United States", Markey wrote, adding that China has unsuccessfully urged the U.S. to engage North Korea directly for years.

According to the FT, Trump said the US could "totally" handle the situation in North Korea without assistance from the Chinese, but he declined to go into specifics.

Though the White House has previously made similar statements, the call came hours before Trump hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping for a two-day summit at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

This meeting, coinciding with a tense situation on the Korean Peninsula, has led to speculation of imminent provocations from North Korea.

The United States has been pushing China to put pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclear program and missile testing, but Trump said on Sunday the United States would be prepared to act alone to stop North Korea. "And China has great influence over North Korea".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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