South Korea Tests Long-Range Ballistic Missile, Yonhap Reports

North Korea is high on the agenda of the first summit later on Thursday between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, with Washington pressing Beijing to do more to rein in Pyongyang.

"The president emphasized 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", the statement read.

"We have no further comment", Tillerson said in the statement.

Hayden went on to call North Korea the intelligence community's toughest target on the planet.

The EU has steadily increased its sanctions against North Korea, the previous move coming in late February with Pyongyang in the spotlight after the assassination at the Kuala Lumpur airport of Kim Jong-Nam, the estranged half-brother of leader Kim Jong-Un.

Officials said the missile traveled about 60 kilometers, a relatively short flight compared with what other North Korean missiles have flown.

A US official said Wednesday's missile test ended in failure when the rocket spun out of control and plunged into the ocean in a fiery crash. USA officials said the latest missile launch used a solid-fueled rocket from a mobile launcher.

A nuclear-capable SLBM system would take the North's threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a "second-strike" capability in the event of an attack on its army bases.

The launch - a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile - will fuel worldwide concerns about the hermit state's weapons programme.

Pyongyang is barred under United Nations resolutions from carrying out ballistic missile launches or nuclear tests. The firing was made as South Korean and USA troops were conducting their springtime drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal.

'Despite China's opinion, the stance of Russian Federation, risks for South Korea and Japan, the USA hints that Donald Trump does not exclude appliance of tactical nuclear weapon to annihilate bunkers and underground facilities for production of weapons of mass destruction, ' the source said.

The launch came amid worries that North Korea might soon conduct banned nuclear or long-range rocket tests.

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

Trump has said China must do more to pressure North Korea to halt its nuclear and missile programs. Earlier in March, it fired four missiles towards Japan, some of which came as close as 300 km (190 miles) to the Japanese coast.

North Korea has carried out several SLBM tests near Sinpo.

  • Leroy Wright