Trump, Abe vow to stop North Korea after fresh missile launch

news
29 November 2017

US President Donald Trump today spoke over the phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe where they reaffirmed their commitment to combat the North Korean threat after an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fired by the reclusive nation apparently landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

"Trump spoke today with Prime Minister Abe of Japan to address North Korea's launch of an ICBM that impacted within Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone," the White House said.

"The two leaders agreed that the North Korean regime's provocative actions are undermining its security and further isolating it from the international community," it said in a readout of the call.

Trump and Abe reaffirmed their commitment to combat the North Korean threat, the White House said.

Barely a week after the US slapped fresh sanctions on North Korea and declared it a state sponsor of terrorism, Pyongyang launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which travelled about 1000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said today his country had achieved full nuclear statehood after successfully testing a new missile capable of hitting anywhere in the United States.

The ICBM launch snapped a two-month pause in testing by the North and poses a new challenge to US President Donald Trump who has vowed such a capability "won't happen".

North Korean state television brought out Ri Chun-Hee, a senior broadcaster who only appears for significant developments, to announce the landmark.

"Kim Jong Un declared with pride that now we have finally realised the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, the cause of building a rocket power," she said.

"The great success in the test-fire of ICBM Hwasong-15 is a priceless victory won by the great and heroic people of the DPRK," she said, using the abbreviated name for North Korea, which is officially (and rather ironically) the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Wednesday's missile was more sophisticated than any previously tested, state media said.

"The ICBM Hwasong-15 type weaponry system is an intercontinental ballistic rocket tipped with super-large heavy warhead which is capable of striking the whole mainland of the US," the official news agency KCNA said.

Pyongyang said the missile reached an altitude of 4,475 km and had splashed down 950 km from its launch site.

At least one Western expert said the missile's lofted trajectory suggested an actual range of 13,000 km - longer than that of any previous test and one that would extend to every major US city.

The UN Security Council agreed to meet in emergency session to discuss the launch.

"I will only tell you that we will take care of it," Trump said at the White House after news of the launch. "It is a situation that we will handle," he added, without elaborating.

US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson stressed that diplomatic options to resolving the crisis remained "viable and open".

But North Korea's immediate neighbours were less restrained, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling the test an intolerable, "violent" act and South Korean President Moon Jae-In condemning Pyongyang's "reckless" behaviour.

It was the first missile test of any kind since 15 September, and quashed speculation that the North may have held back in order to open the door to a negotiated solution to the nuclear standoff.

Drumming up support for a tough stance against North Korea's nuclear weapons ambitions was the main focus of Trump's marathon tour of Asia earlier this month.





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