09 April, 2017
North Korea on Wednesday launched a ballistic missile, which flew for some 60 km before falling into the Sea of Japan, the South Korean military said.
U.S. President Donald Trump told Japanese leader Shinzo Abe Washington will continue to build its military capabilities to defend against a North Korean attack, the White House said, according to AFP.
The initial US and South Korean assessments indicated it was a KN-15 medium-range missile, whose first publicly known test in February was considered by many foreign experts as a potentially worrying development. Most of North Korea's missiles use liquid propellant, which usually must be added on the launch pad before the weapon is fired.
Before that Pyongyang tested an intermediate-range missile, the Pukguksong-2, on February 12 and also conducted nuclear tests previous year. "Until their nuclear and missile programs reach a point where they feel it could be used as a deterrent against the United States, the North probably won't show strong willingness for talks".
North Korea is pushing hard to upgrade its weapons systems to cope with what it calls US hostility.
Pyongyang is on a quest to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the USA mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them a year ago.
South Korea successfully test-fired a home-developed ballistic missile on 6 April 2017.
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South Korea's foreign ministry strongly condemned the launch, which it said represented a "threat to peace and stability of the whole world". The official explained that, during the meeting, Trump will stress the importance of U.S.
The reclusive state has also conducted two nuclear weapons tests since January 2016. It was launched from the Sinpo region on North Korea's eastern coast. The missile launch may be a precursor, with more to come as the summit starts Thursday, he said.
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The KN-15 missile reportedly refers to what North Korea calls the solid-fuel "Pukguksong-2".
Council members said they "deplore" all North Korean ballistic missile activity, stressing that it contributes to the country's development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and diverts resources from the needs of its people.
Last month, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan.
The firing was made as South Korean and USA troops were conducting annual military drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal.