S. Korea urges NK to abandon its obsession with nukes, missiles

But in a short statement right after the launch, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, "The United States has spoken enough about North Korea".

European Union sanctions against North Korea date back to 2006 and are part of worldwide efforts to halt a nuclear and ballistic missile programme which experts say is meant to give Pyongyang the capability to hit the U.S. mainland.

Analysts say North Korea might also time nuclear and long-range rocket tests to the April 15 birthday of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the late grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.

"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.

Citing a high-ranking government official, Yonhap said the South's missile with a range of 800 kilometres could serve as a strong deterrent to Pyongyang.

During the conversation, Trump made it clear that the United States will continue to strengthen its ability to deter and defend itself and its allies with the full range of its military capabilities, it said.

North Korea is pushing hard to upgrade its weapons systems to cope with what it calls US hostility.

Even before the missile test, North Korea's nuclear program was expected to be an important talking point between Xi and Trump.

Abe said the president stressed that "all options" are on the table for dealing with the threat from Kim's regime.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council condemned Pyongyang for its "flagrant and provocative defiance" of the council and their resolutions.

North Korea published photos after the test that demonstrated "a very challenging technology for us" to detect before launch, he said. The North has defied the ban, saying it infringes on its sovereign rights to self-defence and the pursuit of space exploration.

Because Wednesday's missile only traveled 60 kilometers horizontally, USA officials deemed the launch a failure, but the Lowy Institute suggested otherwise. It flew some 60 km, reaching an altitude of 189 km, before falling into the East Sea.

News of South Korea's test comes two days after the North launched a ballistic missile of its own.

From a year ago, North Korea took the rare step of publicizing images of its missile equipment tests, convincing analysts that Pyongyang's banned program was further along toward successfully testing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) than first thought.

  • Arturo Norris