N Korea claims missile launch success

North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast early on Sunday, South Korea's military said, the first time the isolated state has tested such a device since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

Trump and his aides are likely to weigh a series of responses, including new United States sanctions to tighten financial controls, an increase in naval and air assets in and around the Korean peninsula, and accelerated installation of new missile defence systems in South Korea, the administration official said.

North Korea, which had issued a warning last month that it was ready to test its first intercontinental ballistic missile, had yet to announce Sunday's test, which came just days before the North is to mark the 75th birthday on February 16 of leader Kim Jong Un's late father, Kim Jong Il.

The latest missile - said by Pyongyang to be able to carry a nuclear warhead - flew east for about 500 kilometres (310 miles) before falling into the Sea of Japan (East Sea), South Korea's defence ministry has said.

In December 2016, the UN had imposed its toughest sanctions on North Korea in an attempt to deter the defiant nation from conducting nuclear missile tests. Strategic Command systems detected and tracked what officials said was a North Korean missile launch yesterday at 5:55 p.m. EST, according to a news release issued by Stratcom.

The council will meet around 2200 GMT on Monday following a request by the United States, Japan and South Korea.

The Pukguksong-2 has a solid-fuel booster for increased range, and needs less time on pre-launch preparation than a liquid-fuelled launcher.

At a standard press briefing on Monday morning, Geng Shuang, the foreign ministry spokesperson said: "China opposes North Korea's launch activities that are in violation of relevant UNSC resolutions".

Both photos emerged after Trump's weekend getaway in Florida with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where the two world leaders played Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf course. The statement also said that North Korea is choosing to invest in weaponization while the country's citizens "have great unmet needs". It also boosts the power of ballistic missiles, giving them longer range.

Trump tweeted in January that though North Korea had said it was in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S., "It won't happen!" "If this continues, they will be lost in the maze of North Korea's nuclear issue".

  • Leroy Wright