North Korea fires ballistic missile ahead of Trump-Xi meeting

Cheryl Sanders
April 5, 2017

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast on Wednesday, South Korea's military said, ahead of a summit between US and Chinese leaders who are set to discuss Pyongyang's increasingly defiant arms program. While submarines are also a stealthy way to do that, North Korea doesn't have enough of them.

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile into the East Sea.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry called the North's latest missile launch a "reckless provocation" that posed a threat to global peace, while Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the country lodged a strong protest over the launch.

South Korea says North Korea has fired a ballistic missile into the waters off its east coast.

And Kim Jong-un has even boasted that the country is close to successfully testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Seoul and Washington are now analyzing both the missile type and the possible range of the missile launched by Pyongyang, the Yonhap news agency reported, adding that it was most likely a KN-15 medium range ballistic missile.

"It is what it is", Bong said.

This meeting, coinciding with a tense situation on the Korean Peninsula, has led to speculation of imminent provocations from North Korea. "The United States has moved on and is now trying to resolve problem through a larger scale, such as the summit with China shows".

A North Korean flag, center, is displayed during 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship Division II Group A game at Kwandong Hockey Center in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a terse response to Wednesday's missile launch, saying, "The United States has spoken enough about North Korea".

A military strike on the North's nuclear or missile facilities risks triggering a devastating war that could quickly kill hundreds of thousands.

Tillerson in a visit to China last month declared an end to the Obama administration's "strategic patience" policy to wait out Pyongyang until it caves and decides to denuclearize, but the Trump administration has yet to reveal any meaningfully different approach.

Last August Pyongyang also successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile 500 kilometres towards Japan, far exceeding any previous sub-launched tests, in what the North's leader Kim Jong-Un hailed as the "greatest success".

The idea that the United States could deprive Pyongyang of its "nuclear deterrent" through sanctions is "the wildest dream", it said.

The US Pacific Command said it detected and tracked what it assessed as North Korean missile launched from land near the eastern coastal city of Sinpo.

North Korea has already conducted several nuclear tests and a series of missile launches.

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