N.Korea Fires Missile as Trump Meets Abe

Japanese Prime Minister Abe US President Trump
North Korea 'test fires unidentified type of ballistic missile'
Author

14 February, 2017

The device was described as a "surface-to-surface medium-to-long-range ballistic missile", the Korean state news agency KCNA reported.

There was no immediate confirmation of the launch from North Korea, although Pyongyang had recently warned it was ready to test its first intercontinental ballistic missile.

Its missile launch over the Sea of Japan on February 12th came as Donald Trump hosted Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, on a state visit.

As for the US, Mr Trump said on Saturday: "America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100%".

Abe, who spent the weekend with Trump in south Florida, said that he and the president were dedicated to working together and strengthening their alliance.

The U.N. resolution - and repeated sanctions - have failed to curb the Kim regime, which test-fired missiles more than 20 times last year, and more than 50 since Kim Jong Un became leader five years ago.

The test on Saturday night, United States time, was reported by North Korea and then later confirmed by Pentagon officials.

The launch was seen as a test of the response from Mr Trump, who pledged "100%" support to USA regional ally Japan.

The missile test came amid signs that Trump, having previously chided Japan for what he said was an insufficient contribution to the cost of housing USA troops there, is seeking to reset his relationship with Abe.

"It is also believed that it was an armed provocation to test the response from the new USA administration under President Trump", it added.

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Experts suggest the tests are programmed for shorter distances to avoid a missile landing on Japan.

Gardner also encouraged Trump to accelerate the deployment of a missile defense system to South Korea.

In his letter, Gardner outlined four steps for Trump to take to prioritize North Korea.

The trajectory of the ballistic missile tested Sunday was similar to that of North Korea's KN-11 submarine-launched ballistic missile, Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program for the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, suggests.

The South's military said Seoul and Washington were analysing the details of the launch.

Kim Dong-yeop, an analyst at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, speculated the missile could be a Musudan or a similar rocket created to test engines for an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the USA mainland, the AP reported.

In January leader Kim Jong-Un boasted that Pyongyang was in the "final stages" of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile in an apparent attempt to pressure the incoming USA president.

Davis, the spokesman, said the US tracked the flight of the missile launched on Saturday evening, USA time, and assessed that it traveled about 500 kilometers, or about 310 miles, before landing in the Sea of Japan.

"I saw them out on the lawn today and I said to the prime minister of Japan", Trump said, according to CNN and New York Magazine.


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