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Monday 13th
posted by James Tweedie in World

North Korea ‘fired’ medium range missile towards Japan

A CHORUS of condemnation met an apparent nuclear missile test by North Korea yesterday — though Pyongyang did not report any test.

The US Strategic Command said it detected and tracked the launch of a missile from North Korea in the early hours of yesterday morning.

It said the object travelled about 300 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan, assessing the launch as “a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile” that posed no threat to the US.

South Korea’s acting president Hwang Kyo Ahn said Seoul “is doing its best to ensure a corresponding response to punish the North.”

But there was no report of a launch from North Korea’s KCNA news agency, which typically hails such events.

China also failed to comment, although official media reported South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff condemning the launch as a breach of UN security council resolutions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed in his New Year’s speech to develop a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile this year.

The South Korean military said it was working with the US to analyse the launch, which it suspected was a medium-range missile and not an intercontinental weapon.

Russian parliamentary international affairs committee chair Leonid Slutsky said Moscow and Washington could come together to resolve tensions in the peninsula “however utopian that may appear now.”

Pyongyang’s latest apparent missile test was “a definite challenge to all of us,” Mr Slutsky said, and was “a reminder that we should not relax.”

Russia, along with China, the US, Japan and both Koreas, was involved in the “six party talks” on resolving nuclear tensions in Korea, but these have been dormant since Pyongyang pulled out in 2009.

The alleged launch occurred as US President Donald Trump was playing golf with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

At a press conference in the club’s ballroom, Mr Abe called the launch “absolutely intolerable.”

In an interview with ABC yesterday the Mr Trump’s chief policy adviser Stephen Miller said: “The message we’re sending to the world right now [between the US and Japan] is a message of strength and solidarity; we stand with Japan and we stand with our allies in the region to address the North Korean menace.”