North Korea drew international criticism Sunday by launching a new kind of ballistic missile.
The White House called the hermit communist country a “flagrant menace” following the seventh test launch of a ballistic missile this year.
It comes just days after the election of South Korea’s new liberal President Moon Jae-in who is advocating for more engagement with Pyongyang.
The unidentified missile flew some 450 miles from a launch site near the Chinese border before falling into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, 300 miles off the Russian coast.
Los Angeles Times reports:
President Trump was briefed on the missile test, according to a statement the White House released late Saturday. The missile firing took place on Sunday, North Korea time, with the projectile landing in the sea between North Korea and Japan.
“The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea,” the statement said.
The statement called for stronger sanctions against the North, but did not directly threaten U.S. military action. Trump has said previously that bellicose actions by Kim Jong Un’s government could trigger “major, major conflict.”
The test firing, against a backdrop of rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, came four days after South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, took office. Moon has called for outreach to Kim, North Korea’s mercurial leader.
In its statement, the White House appeared to call indirectly for Russian support in containing Kim’s nuclear ambitions, suggesting they posed a threat to Russia as well.
“With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil – in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan – the president cannot imagine that Russia is pleased,” the statement said.
Russia, a onetime ally of North Korea, is a member of a six-nation consortium aimed at reining in the reclusive nation’s nuclear program through diplomatic and financial incentives, but that forum has been inactive for nearly a decade.
Russia’s Interfax news agency cited military officials as saying that the missile had posed no danger to its territory. It said the projectile was tracked by Russian anti-missile defenses during its 23-minute flight before plummeting into the sea more than 300 miles off the Russian coast.
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