N.Korea fires missile into sea off east coast - S.Korea

Two weeks ago, the South Korean and USA militaries said they detected what they called a failed North Korean ballistic missile launch.

"It spun out of control after going only a fraction of its range", the official said.

The Chinese leader Xi Jinping is set to meet President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida later today.

"We are now certain it was a liquid-fuelled Scud", said a senior White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The missile unlike its predecessor is an advanced KN-15 medium-range missile which was sacked using liquid fuel from a fixed location rather than a rocket launcher.

The South Korean military said the missile was sacked from land near the east coast city of Sinpo and flew only about 60 kilometers (40 miles).

U.S. Forces Korea issued its own statement contemporaneously, with one minor difference. Many weapons experts say the North could have a functioning nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the continental USA within a few years.

It has also conducted two nuclear weapons tests since January 2016, all in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) President Ralph Cossa said he expected a possible nuclear test from Pyongyang as Xi met with Trump, and posited that the launch may be a sign of more to come as Thursday's summit approaches. Or was the launch just part of its broader missile development programs, with outsiders reading too much from a routine weapons test? There had to be a commitment to using diplomatic means to peacefully settle the North Korea issue, Wang said.

But in 2012 it reached an agreement with the United States to nearly triple the range of its ballistic missile systems to guard against the North's nuclear threats, and has since been developing missiles with longer ranges.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul confirmed that the missile was launched from Sinpo, south Hamgyong province in eastern North Korea. "We have no further comment".

Instead of the usual condemnation of calling it a provocative act in violation of U.N. resolutions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said simply, "the United States has spoken enough about North Korea". Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday that all sides needed to be involved.

  • Julie Sanders