08 April, 2017
Edward Markey is calling on President Donald Trump to engage in direct negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as part of a proposed joint effort with China to reduce North Korea's nuclear threat. The North conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile tests a year ago, defying six Security Council sanctions resolutions banning any testing.
"The stated goal of the last test was to validate the nuclear weapon design that would arm all of North Korea's missiles", Lewis said of North Korea's September 2016 nuclear test - its fifth and largest to date.
The pair spoke by phone a day after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, in what analysts said was a warning ahead of Trump's summit with China's Xi Jinping at which North Korea is set to dominate the agenda.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says "the United States has spoken enough about North Korea" in reaction to North Korea's latest missile launch.
"I'm sure we're going to have a fantastic meeting and we're going to talk about a lot of things, including, of course, North Korea, a problem, and that's really a humanity problem", Trump said.
"The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America".
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The blast, which hit the checkpoint at the main southern entrance to the city on Wednesday night, also wounded at least 36 people.
Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its weapons development.
North Korea belligerence, however, has been accompanied by increased emphasis on reconciliation with the South following the impeachment of Park Geun-hye, the former president.
The South Korean military said the missile was sacked from land near the east coast city of Sinpo and flew about 60 kilometers (40 miles). US officials confirm an object in orbit, but no signal is detected.
US officials reportedly determined that the missile was a medium-range Scud ER (extended range) and suffered an in-flight failure.
China is North Korea's sole major diplomatic friend and a key trading partner that supplies the isolated state with much of its hard currency in the face of stringent global sanctions. -South Korea military drills, which the North sees as a preparation for war. North Korean university students cheer and wave their national flag as their country's women's soccer team competes against South Korea in a qualifying soccer match for the Asian Football Confederation Cup at the Kim Il Sung St. Earlier in March, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), with three of them landing in waters that Japan claims as its exclusive economic zone.