United States condemns 'unacceptable' North Korea missile launches

North Korea on Friday threatened to conduct more missile tests in response to the two-month Foal Eagle exercise between Seoul and Washington, which continues through April.

"This "suspension for suspension" can help us break out of the security dilemma and bring the parties back to the negotiating table", he said.

North Korea test fired four missiles into the Sea of Japan Monday, a move which has interpreted as a provocation of Japan and South Korea.

Chinese authorities have closed almost two dozen retail stores of South Korea's Lotte Group, which approved a land swap with the military last week to allow it to install the system.

People in Pyongyang watch a broadcast about the launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile on February 12.

Pentagon said both leaders agreed the launches were "unacceptable and irresponsible".

North Korea faced a chorus of condemnation on Tuesday (March 7) for its latest ballistic missile tests but declared that ongoing joint United States-South Korea military exercises were aimed at conducting a "pre-emptive nuclear attack" against Pyongyang.

The launch of the missiles, three of which Abe said fell into Japan's exclusive economic zone, were "a grave threat to our country's national security", according to government spokesman Yoshihide Suga.

The council has imposed six sets of sanctions on North Korea - two of which were adopted previous year to significantly ramp up measures and deny Kim Jong Un's regime hard currency revenue.

The measures include the planned deployment to South Korea of a missile defense system called Thaad, which has infuriated China, the North's key diplomatic ally and crucial to efforts to persuade it to change its ways.

"Now that the USA imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces again kicked off the risky nuclear war drills against [North Korea] at its doorstep, our army will counter them with the toughest counteractions", a North Korean military spokesman said a day after the maneuvers. Not just Pyongyang opposes the joint project by the US and South Korea, but also Bejing.

China is isolated North Korea's most important supporter, but Beijing has been angered by its repeated missile and nuclear tests and has signed up for increasingly severe United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang, including suspending coal imports. Trump has described North Korea as a "big, big problem" and vowed to deal with the issue "very strongly".

Abe also referred to the USA government's current review of its policies toward North Korea.

The Russians worry the THAAD system could be used against them.

Those options will soon be presented to Trump and his top national security aides, the report said quoting US administration officials.

North Korea has already denounced this year's exercises through state media service KCNA.

  • Zachary Reyes