North Korea tests another ballistic missile

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally supervised the launch, which the KCNA said was Pyongyang's new means to deliver nuclear warheads.

South Korea's Military on February 12 confirmed that North Korea has fired a ballistic missile that flew about 500 kilometers after launch.

Following the launch, acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn said that he and the worldwide community "are working together to take punitive actions appropriate for this launch". The meeting with Abe, his recent announcement that he would support China's "one China" policy in regard to Taiwan and his tough stance on North Korea have, however, started to cast the United States leader in a more favorable light in the region.

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the projectile was sacked from an area in the country's western region around Banghyon, North Pyongan Province, which is where South Korean officials have said the country test launched its powerful midrange missile Musudan on October 15 and 20.

The object was launched from an area in North Korea's western region, the South's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a short statement.

"North Korea's most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable", Mr Abe said.

South Korea's defence ministry called it an armed provocation to test the response of US President Donald Trump.

Details of the launch, including the type of missile, were scant.

Trump, when asked by reporters about the missile launch, declined to comment.

United Nations resolutions forbid North Korea from carrying out ballistic missile tests - part of wider efforts to prevent it becoming a fully nuclear-armed power.

North Korea conducted its fifth test of a nuclear device a year ago and was seen by experts and officials to be making progress in its weapons capabilities.

South Korea anticipates a presidential election later this year where the country's North Korea policy and the future of the US -backed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor system will be important issues.

It came as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the US President were golfing in the so-called Winter White House of Mar-a-Lago, Florida. The North's leader Kim Jong-un reportedly attended the launch.

The launch fits the pattern of North Korea seeking attention around the time of major events in the U.S.

Analysts are divided over how close Pyongyang is to realising its full nuclear ambitions, especially as it has never successfully test-fired an ICBM.

As it is now clear that the Trump administration is maintaining a hardline approach, it is no surprise that Pyongyang is "going back to its old playbook" of using missile provocations to see if the U.S. would respond to its demands, said research fellow Go Myong Hyun of The Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

The European Union joined the criticism, declaring in a statement that North Korea's "repeated disregard of its worldwide obligations is provocative and unacceptable".

  • Leroy Wright