North Korea yesterday said it successfully test-fired a new type of medium-to-long-range ballistic missile on Sunday, claiming advances in a weapons program it is pursuing in violation of United Nations resolutions.
South Korea's president, Park Geun-hye, called the detonation, which Seoul estimated had produced the North's biggest-ever explosive yield, an act of "fanatic recklessness".
The missile splashed down into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, according to the US Strategic Command.
"North Korea must fully comply with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions".
It was more than a coincidence that he addressed the press conference in the company of the visiting Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.
"As I have pointed out repeatedly in the past, the root cause to the North Korea nuclear missile issue is the conflicts between North Korea and the United States, as well as between North and South Korea". Earlier analysis had guessed it to be a shorter-range Rodong.
In August, it test-fired two intermediate ballistic missiles. The missile was launched towards the Sea of Japan (East Sea), whose waters could turn out to be as choppy as those of the South China Sea.
On a visit to South Korea last week, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said that any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with an "effective and overwhelming" response.
The new President's response was suitably measured.
South Korean security officials were holding an emergency meeting about the launch. Arguably, he might have resorted to armed provocation to test the response from the new United States administration.
"This is a clear violation of the (UN Security Council resolution) and threat to peace and security of the Korean peninsula and the entire global community. The ROK government condemns the DPRK's provocation in the strongest terms". It conducted two nuclear tests and a slew of rocket launches previous year.
The Pentagon is not overly anxious about this latest launch, but they are concerned about an intercontinental ballistic missile that could one day reach the U.S.
A USA official said the missile was a KN-11 sub-based missile.
North Korea have declared the test missile they launched over the weekend a success.
North Korean missiles usually rely on liquid fuel and have to be gassed up like you'd fill up your auto.
Missiles in the Musudan class have an estimated range of over 3,000km, putting Guam within reach. "And it's not only a concern for the United States to hit the mainland, but it also has concerns for all of our Asia partners".
Following the launch, acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn said that he and the worldwide community "are working together to take punitive actions appropriate for this launch".
The KCNA report on the missile went on to say that the test solidified control and guidance capabilities, and further that the the device was able to launch with a high trajectory, instead of low, which gives it more range.
Sunday's launch was the first in 2017 and also the first since Donald Trump was sworn in as the USA president on January 20. "Pyongyang has no intention of backing away from its goal to become a country with nuclear weapons".
China has a place in the matter as well, as increasing pressure exists for the country to make further moves toward pushing North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.