Trump surprised by N Korea's missile launch

Kari ReynoldsFeb 14, 2017

The timing of the launch may well have been specifically meant to occur during a visit to the United States by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was meeting with U.S. president Donald Trump in Florida.

However, China said that the root cause of North Korean missile launches is friction with the US and South Korea.

The test-fired weapon - dubbed the Pukguksong-2, or Polaris-2 in English - is a new type of solid fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile modelled after the submarine- launched ballistic missile that Pyongyang tested last August, military sources told the South's Yonhap News Agency yesterday.

The US, Japan and South Korea requested urgent UN Security Council consultations on the test.

Photos released by KCNA showed the missile blasting into the sky with a smiling Mr Kim watching from the command centre, and standing on the launch field surrounded by dozens of cheering soldiers and scientists.

"The United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent", Trump said, and took no questions.

Pyongyang often celebrates key anniversaries involving current and former leaders with missile launches, Mr Yang, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, said. First, he said, Trump should fully enforce existing USA and multilateral sanctions, including by making sure China is enforcing its sanctions commitments under United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The launch was clearly a provocation to Japan and the region, said Yoshihide Suge in Tokyo, chief cabinet secretary, reported the Japan Times.

Analysts noted the timing was tricky for Beijing, which had been putting pressure on South Korea to abandon plans for a new USA anti-missile radar it said was needed to protect it from its northern neighbour.

That would be a major step toward its stated goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could target the USA mainland.

In previous Security Council actions on North Korea, the United States and China, a neighbor and ally of Pyongyang, have been the key negotiators.

The allies could further upset North Korea this year if they go ahead with a plan to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in the South.

It flew about 310 miles before crashing into the Sea of Japan, the military said.

The Tubby Tyrant threatened to fire a ballistic missile in his New Year's address, sparking fear of nuclear war and mass destruction.

Sunday's launch comes a day after Trump held a summit meeting with Abe and said he agreed to work to ensure strong defence against North Korea's threat.

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