North Korea fires missile into sea

The launch comes just days after Pyongyang said it planned to mark two key anniversaries this month as "big" political events, and just days before President Trump meets with China's Xi Jinping - with North Korea at the top of the agenda. Most North Korean missiles use liquid propellant, which generally must be added to the missile on the launch pad before firing.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff say in a statement that the missile fired from the North's eastern coastal town of Sinpo on Wednesday morning flew about 37 miles. The earlier one in February flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles). It wasn't immediately known if the much shorter distance of Wednesday's flight meant a failed launch.

And Hyten said North Korea showed off pictures "for the entire world to see out of a place we'd never seen before that showed a new technology".

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch "did not pose a threat to North America", according to the statement.

The KN-15 is believed to be an upgraded version of the submarine-launched "Pukguksong" launched last summer. Many South Korean experts say "Pukguksong-2" missile would be a greater security threat because it can be launched anywhere from a ground-based mobile vehicle.

In a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday, Trump again said that all options were on the table when it came to North Korea's continued missile tests.

Experts say Pyongyang - defying a United Nations ban on carrying out ballistic missile or nuclear tests - is still years away from developing a nuclear-capable SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile). North Koreans cheer as their country's women's soccer team competes against South Korea in a qualifying soccer match for the Asian Football Confederation Cup at the Kim Il Sung Stadium on Friday, April 7, 2017, in Pyongyang, No.

After Financial Times published its interview with Trump on Sunday, Gen. John Hyten, the commander of US Strategic Command, was quick to assure that any option to address North Korea's nuclear program would have to involve China.

South Korea's foreign ministry also condemned the launch as a blunt challenge to a series of UN Security Council resolutions targeting North Korea's nuclear and missile program.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed Pyongyang had launched "yet another" intermediate range ballistic missile.

"The North is allowed to hoist its flag and play national anthem within the stadium according to the rules and regulation of worldwide sports event", a spokesperson from Seoul's Ministry of Unification said on Thursday.

"If we are serious about solving this issue, we need to tackle the root of it", she said at a regular news briefing. The last successful attempt was on March 6, when North Korea fired four missiles at the same time, also into the same waters - the Sea of Japan (or as Koreans prefer to call it, the "East Sea").

In June a year ago, the South successfully test-fired two home-developed missiles capable of carrying a one-tonne payload up to 500 kilometres.

The launch came amid worries that North Korea might soon conduct banned nuclear or long-range rocket tests.

The latest launch comes as South Korea and the US wrap up their annual spring joint military exercises on the peninsula, which North Korea objects to because it views the drills as preparation for war. It's assumed by many that China would not endanger its trade with the intervening militarily on behalf of its client North Korea, but assumptions and certainties are not the same things.

  • Joey Payne