North Korea Fires First Ballistic Missile Since Donald Trump Took Office
North Korea has conducted a ballistic test in for the first time since President Donald Trump took office.
President Trump assured Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe that “America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100%”.
The ballistic missile fired by North Korea flew east towards the Sea of Japan for about 310 miles, South Korean officials say.
PM Shinzo Abe said the test was “absolutely intolerable”. According to Japanese officials, the missile did not reach its waters.
Speaking at a joint press conference during a visit to the US, Shinzo Abe added that Donald Trump had also assured him that he was committed to “further enforcing our alliance”.
North Korea has conducted a number of nuclear tests in the past year in acts of aggression that continue to alarm and anger the region.
February 12 launch took place at 07:55 local time from the Banghyon air base in North Pyongan province on the west side of the Korean peninsula.
The missile reached an altitude of about 350 miles, according to a South Korean official quoted by Reuters, and appeared to be a Rodong medium-range missile.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said: “North Korea’s repeated provocations show the Kim Jong-un regime’s nature of irrationality, maniacally obsessed in its nuclear and missile development.”
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga confirmed the missile had not reached Japanese territorial waters, adding that Tokyo would make a “strong protest” to North Korea over the incident.
There has so far been no comment from North Korea.
Kim Jong-un said last month that North Korea was close to testing long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
On a visit to South Korea last week, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with an “effective and overwhelming” response.
James Mattis also reconfirmed plans to deploy a US missile defense system in South Korea later this year.
North Korea conducted its fifth test of a nuclear device in 2016, and claims it is capable of carrying out a nuclear attack on the US, though experts are still unconvinced that its technology has progressed that far.
North Korea has also said in recent weeks that it has a new intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of reaching the US mainland, which it is prepared to test launch at any time.