South Korea says North Korea test fires missile into sea

This is set to be on the agenda at an emergency United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting in NY yesterday evening (Singapore time this morning) requested by the United States, Japan and South Korea.

It conducted two nuclear tests and numerous missile launches in its pursuit of developing a nuclear weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland.

South Korean security officials were holding an emergency meeting about the launch.

The firing of the latest missile was also a major challenge for the Trump administration, said George Lopez, an expert in economic sanctions and nuclear disarmament and a professor emeritus of peace studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Following the launch, acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn said that he and the global community "are working together to take punitive actions appropriate for this launch". There has been speculation that Japan may also express interest in acquiring a THAAD system to defend against North Korean missiles.

It flew about 500km toward Japan, landing off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula.

In Washington, public affairs officers for the Defense Department and the State Department had no immediate comment on the report.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union, meanwhile, were swift to condemn the launch, saying it undermines the worldwide security.

Meanwhile, Japan reacted strongly to the launch, calling it an act of provocation to Japan and the region.

The use of solid rocket fuels means North Korea will need less time to prepare making it hard for American satellites to track potential launches.

Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, spoke to his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan Jin, according to the South Korean President's office.

President Trump assured Mr Abe that America stands behind its "great ally".

Step toward missile that can hit US?

CNN's analysts believe the missile test was a message "clearly directed at Japan", as Professor Carl Schuster of Hawaii Pacific University said.

KCNA said the missile was sacked at a high angle in consideration of the safety of neighbouring countries.

The test comes as the nascent Trump administration's policy on North Korea remains unclear. "They may have been testing whether the missile could withstand G's (gravity forces) given a payload". China has criticized North Korea for the test, but late and somewhat halfheartedly.

In August, it test-fired two intermediate ballistic missiles.

"Today's ballistic missile test by North Korea is the first ballistic missile test this year since 24 launches last year", said a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Cho June-Hyuck.

While the missile tested Sunday did not have the range to reach farther than Guam, North Korea has been racing ahead in developing its nuclear program. The reclusive state has conducted five nuclear tests, including two past year, but its claims to be able to miniaturise a nuclear weapon to be mounted on a missile have never been verified independently.

  • Leroy Wright