Korea, U.S., Japan vow stronger defense ties against NK missiles

However, a senior US defense official told reporters Wednesday that the missile may have been an older liquid-fueled, extended-range scud missile fired from a fixed location.

South Korea agreed Friday to further strengthen trilateral military partnerships with the United States and Japan to counter North Korea's missile threats, Seoul's defense ministry said.

"The launch comes days after Pyongyang said it planned to mark two key anniversaries this month as "big" political events and days before President Donald Trump meets with China's Xi Jinping - with North Korea at the top of the agenda".

More recently, Trump has warned that the United States would take unilateral action to eliminate the nuclear threat from North Korea unless China increased pressure on Kim's regime.

"I told (President Trump) that Japan is watching closely how China will cope with this North Korean issue", Abe told reporters after the 35-minute conversation.

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North Korea published photos after the test that demonstrated "a very challenging technology for us" to detect before launch, he said.

South Korea scored a blistering victory against arch rival the North in a rare ice hockey match on Thursday (Apr 6), in a game that resonated beyond the sports field. "Unlike the KN-15, which uses solid fuel, the missile fired Wednesday used liquid fuel and was sacked from a fixed location, rather than a mobile launcher", the official said.

When North Korea test-fired this missile in February, South Korean officials said it flew about 500km before landing in worldwide waters.

The EU also added four people to its blacklist of those subject to travel bans and asset freezes because of links to the North Korean leadership and weapons program.

North Korea may want to send a message to both Washington and Beijing that it doesn't want to be the subject of negotiations, with the country's young leader, Kim Jong Un, vowing to build a powerful, prosperous nation.

The response of America's chief diplomat to North Korea's latest missile launch was an abrupt departure from the usual - which may be a turning point, analysts in Asia say. A 2015 report from the National Assembly Budget Office estimated that even under a peaceful scenario where Seoul expands humanitarian support ahead of reunification in 2026, it could cost about $2.8 trillion to help bring North Korea's GDP to two-thirds that of South Korea. "He is making it clear that, no matter what North Korea does, the United States won't commit to direct negotiations unless Pyongyang shows real willingness for disarmament".

"This test compared to the last one (in February) did not go as far or as high", she said.

The firing was made as South Korean and US troops were conducting annual military drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal.

  • Leroy Wright