Trump, Japan's Abe discuss North Korea missile launch - White House

The development is ahead of a summit between USA and Chinese leaders who are set to discuss Pyongyang's increasingly defiant arms programme.

North Korea's foreign ministry on Thursday released a memorandum that says the United States should be totally accountable for a possible outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula, no matter who launches a pre-emptive attack.

"The military is keeping a close watch over North Korea's provocative moves and maintaining a high defence posture", the statement added.

This is the first time for South Korean footballers to play in the capital of North Korea since October 1990.

South Korea has successfully test-fired a home-developed ballistic missile with a range long enough to hit any part of North Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported yesterday.

The installation of THAAD in South Korea has triggered strong criticism from China, which claims the powerful THAAD radar is a threat because it can monitor China facilities.

(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File).

Ahead of the U.S.

The launch came shortly before U.S. President Donald Trump's first meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping later this week, raising speculation that it might have been timed to get their attention.

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo into the Sea of Japan, US and South Korean officials say.

"We're rapidly and dangerously heading towards the reality that the military option is the only one left when it comes to getting North Korea to denuclearize and not weaponized [intercontinental ballistic missiles]", said retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane. But 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.

Wednesday's missile, launched days after Pyongyang warned of retaliation if the global community ramps up sanctions, flew 60 kilometres (about 40 miles), South Korea's defence ministry said.

" ... Both agreed to push forward the deployment of THAAD by USA forces in Korea", it said.

North Korean state media said the "Pukguksong-2" missile is a surface-to-surface missile that can carry nuclear warheads. Till now it has staged five nuclear tests, two of which were tested past year.

In a phone call with Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the two leaders had agreed that North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch was "a unsafe provocation and a serious threat".

"At some point, we need to see definitive actions by China condemning North Korea and not just calling them out for it", she said.

The launch came hours after US President Donald Trump described North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear arsenal as a "humanity problem" and a senior US official told reporters that the "clock has now run out" on Pyongyang.

Abe said the two leaders had agreed that North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch was "a risky provocation and a serious threat".

"The President emphasised that the United States stands with its allies Japan and South Korea in the face of the serious threat that North Korea continues to pose".

In addition to this, on Tuesday an unnamed USA official said about North Korea and the upcoming meeting between Trump and China's leader, "The clock has now run out, and all options are on the table for us".

"If it is the X-band radar that comes with THAAD that is bringing this criticism, in that case the USA forces in Japan already have two X-band radars and therefore I do not believe that the countries around Japan, our neighbors, need to be concerned about this", Onodera said. "China wants to make efforts with all sides involved, to make denuclearization a reality, and ensure peace in the region".

North Korea is on a quest to develop a long-range missile that will be capable of hitting the United States mainland with a nuclear warhead. -South Korean military drills with its own military training and harsh rhetoric.

The European Union on Thursday imposed additional sanctions on North Korea over nuclear and ballistic missile tests which it said threatened global security.

The hardened USA stance followed recent North Korean missile launches that Pyongyang described as practice for an attack on U.S. bases in Japan.

  • Leroy Wright