North Korea missile launch poses 'grave threat' to Japan, Shinzo Abe says

Cheryl Sanders
April 30, 2017

Mr Trump tweeted: "North Korea disrespected the wishes of China and its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today".

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country would adhere to past United Nations resolutions and wants a denuclearized Korean peninsula, but spelled out no further punitive steps his government might consider - despite Tillerson's assertions in an interview hours ahead of the council meeting that Beijing would impose sanctions of its own if North Korea conducts another nuclear test.

USA and South Korean officials said the launch apparently failed, with the missile breaking apart a few minutes after launch.

Condemning the launch, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga said: "North Korea's ballistic missile launch is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions".

The North's previous test almost two weeks ago was also botched.

Seoul and Washington are investigating what kind of projectile was involved, with Pyongyang openly pushing to expand its nuclear weapon capabilities.

Trump himself of Thursday warned of the prospect of a "major, major conflict" with North Korea. "Bad!", Trump said in a post on Twitter after the launch. It also successfully tested ballistic missiles on March 6.

Kim Dong-yub, an expert at Kyungnam University's Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, said North Korea might have got the data it wanted with the missile's short flight, then blown it up in a bid to limit the anger of China, which warned Pyongyang against further provocation. Tensions between North Korea and the worldwide community have been high for the past month, with rumors of World War 3 floating around.

The U.N. Security Council, which traditionally condemns all missile launches by Pyongyang, is likely to start discussing a statement to condemn the missile launch, said diplomats.

North Korea is clearly making progress and has the political will, if not the technology just yet, to improve its missile technology.

"South Korea and USA strike forces began a drill in the East Sea from 6 p.m. today against the backdrop of the current security situation", the South Korean Navy said.

USA and South Korean officials say the launch apparently failed. Trump said that the US would love to resolve the issue in a peaceful manner.

It is not clear what has caused the series of failed missile tests since then.

Pyongyang's unsuccessful test came amid rising tensions with the West as Trump pushed for new economic sanctions and military manoeuvres to be quickly deployed because of its threat to the US.

"Something that's ready to go could be taken from the larger package and expedited", said the official.

North Korea has appealed to ASEAN for support in its row with the United States to prevent what it warned could be a "nuclear holocaust". Meanwhile, U.S. officials have also raised concerns over the North's tests as the reclusive country had made repeated attempts to miniaturize nuclear warheads and fit them on long-range missiles capable of reaching Washington.

China, one of North Korea's few and historically its most powerful ally, has indeed been warning North Korea about its missile and nuclear tests.

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