UN Security Council adopts statement condemning NK missile launch

Australia foreign minister Julie Bishop has spoken with US General Vincent K. Brooks, commander of United Nations and US forces in the country, about the new security risk posed by the North, and said the country's technology is not so advanced when it came to ballistic missiles "that it was an increasing security risk not only to the Korean peninsula but also to our region, including Australia".

North Korea fired a ballistic missile from its east coast into the sea off the Peninsula, according to South Korea's military.

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

The missile launch comes ahead of the crucial meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Florida tomorrow during which the two leaders are expected to discuss a range of global issues, including North Koreas nuclear ambitions.

The 60 kilometers is a relatively short flight compared with the distances that other North Korean missiles flew. Earlier in March, it fired four missiles towards Japan, some of which came as close as 300 km (190 miles) to the Japanese coast.

Japan has lodged a protest following a reported North Korea ballistic missile launch.

"Pyongyang's evolving ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program underscore the growing threat", Hyten said.

South Korea's presidential Blue House called a National Security Council meeting to review the situation. "And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't", Trump said in an interview with the Financial Times this week.

North Korea is pushing hard to upgrade its weapons systems to cope with what it calls USA hostility. The missile launch may be a precursor, with more to come as the summit starts Thursday, he said.

Kim had signalled that his regime was working on a missile capable of reaching the United States, saying in his New Year's Day address that North Korea had "entered the final stage of preparation for a test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile".

South Korea's flag will fly in Pyongyang on Friday as its women's football team takes on their neighbors in the first ever competitive soccer match between the two countries hosted by the North.

South Korea and the United States say the sole goal of the advanced THAAD system is to defend against missile launches from North Korea.

North Korea also often responds to U.S.

Since the beginning of 2016, North Korea has carried out a number of missile launches and nuclear tests, prompting worldwide criticism.

"While it is entirely possible it was the land-based KN-15, it very well could have been a test of their SLBM system that was conducted on land", said Dave Schmerler, an expert at the California-based James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

  • Leroy Wright