Published: Mon, February 13, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

North Korea Test Fires Ballistic Missile

North Korea Test Fires Ballistic Missile

The missile was sacked from the Banghyon airbase in the western province of North Pyongan, and flew east towards the Sea of Japan, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry. It was the first test-firing of a North Korean ballistic missile since Trump took office on January 20.

The specific timing of this latest test has been noted, as it coincides with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe's US visit with President Trump.

Japan and South Korea agreed Sunday to closely coordinate both bilaterally and multilaterally with the United States and United Nations in addressing North Korea's latest test-launch of a ballistic missile, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has told reporters the missile test-fired by North Korea did not hit Japanese territorial seas.

"It is also believed that it was an armed provocation to test the response from the new U.S. administration under President Trump", it added.

The nuclear tests, two of which were conducted in 2016, sparked global condemnation and raised concerns that North Korea was moving towards its goal of a nuclear-armed missile that could one day be capable of striking the USA mainland.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency earlier said the JCS was analyzing whether the projectile might be a Musudan-type missile, which has an estimated range of between 2,500-4,000 kilometers and an estimated payload capacity of 1,000-1,250 kilograms.

The launch fits the pattern of North Korea seeking attention around the time of major events in the U.S.

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Given the proximity of the launch site to the two failed missile tests in October 2016 that had been described as "presumed Musudan" tests, it is possible that North Korea attempted a third test of a Musudan (Hwasong-10) variant it may have attempted to test back then.

Dr Bong Young Shik of Yonsei University's Institute for North Korean Studies said the North's move will stoke debate over the planned deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) anti- missile system in the South to guard against threats from the North. The remarks elicited a searing response from Mr Trump, who said "it won't happen".

There was no immediate confirmation from the North, which recently warned it was ready to test its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Mr Trump said: "I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 per cent".

"The military is determining if the missile is a modified Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile or the shorter range Rodong missile", a South Korean military source said.

They assessed the now urgent security situations, including the DPRK's nuclear and missile programs, vowing to further build up a joint defense posture against Pyongyang.

The official explained that Trump and his administration expected North Korea to try something like this early on.

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