The Latest: US assesses N. Korea missile was not ICMB
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on North Korea’s missile launch (all times local):
The U.S. Strategic Command says it detected and tracked what it assessed was a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile test-fired by North Korea.
It says it did not pose a threat to North America.
The command said the launch occurred near the northwestern city of Kusong.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned in his New Year’s address that his country was ready to test its first intercontinental ballistic missile, which could threaten the U.S. mainland.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is condemning North Korea’s latest missile launch as “absolutely intolerable” and President Donald Trump is assuring Japan that the U.S. stands behind it “100 percent.”
Abe and Trump appeared together for a statement Saturday night following reports that North Korea fired a ballistic missile in what would be its first such test of the year.
In a ballroom at Trump’s south Florida estate, Abe read a brief statement in which he called on the North to comply fully with relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. He said Trump has assured him of U.S. support and that Trump’s presence showed the president’s determination and commitment.
Trump followed Abe with even fewer words, saying in part: “I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent.”
South Korea’s presidential Blue House says the presidential security director Kim Kwan Jin has spoken with President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn over the phone following North Korea’s missile test launch.
According to the statement, the two officials strongly condemned the launch and agreed that the countries will explore every possible way to suppress North Korean provocations.
South Korea says North Korea’s missile test-launch, along with Kim Jong Un’s threat to fire an intercontinental ballistic missile in his New Year’s address, shows the “irrational nature” of a government that “fanatically” obsesses with developing nuclear ballistic missiles.
South’s Foreign Ministry issued the statement in response to what it said was the North’s first ballistic missile launch this year. It strongly condemned the launch as a “blatant and obvious” violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and a “serious threat” to international security.
The ministry says that the South will continue to work with allies including the United States, Japan and the European Union to ensure a thorough implementation of sanctions against the North and make the country realize that it will “never be able to survive” without discarding all of its nuclear and missile programs.
South Korea’s Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn says his country will respond to punish rival North Korea for Sunday’s missile launch.
According to Yonhap news agency, Hwang says South Korea in tandem with the international community “is doing its best to ensure a corresponding response to punish the North” for its missile launch.
South’s military has confirmed that the missile launched Sunday flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles) into the sea. Yonhap reported that while determinations are still being made, it was not believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has told reporters the missile test-fired by North Korea did not hit Japanese territorial seas.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency says that the Japanese government confirmed that the missile fell in seas between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff says South Korean and U.S. military officials are analyzing further details from the launch early Sunday.
In response to the launch, South Korea held a National Security Council meeting at the presidential Blue House, which was chaired by Kim Kwan Jin, the presidential national security director.