North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea early on 12th
This is the first such test since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected, and his administration indicated that Washington would have a calibrated response to avoid escalating tensions.
The test was likely to have been of an intermediate-range Musudan-class missile that landed in the Sea of Japan, according to South Korea’s military.
The launch marks the first test of Trump’s vow to get tough on an isolated North Korean regime that last year tested nuclear devices and ballistic missiles at an unprecedented rate in violation of United Nations resolutions.
The latest test comes a day after Trump held a summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Abe called the launch “absolutely intolerable” and said North Korea must comply with UN Security Council resolutions.
China is North Korea’s main ally but has been frustrated by Pyongyang's repeated provocations,.
It also bristles at pressure from Washington and Seoul to curb the North and its young leader, Kim Jong Un.
China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Trump and his aides are likely to weigh a series of possible responses, including new U.S. sanctions to tighten financial control.
There may also be an increase in naval and air assets in and around the Korean peninsula and accelerated installation of new missile defence systems in South Korea, the administration official said.
Trump has pledged a more assertive approach to North Korea but given no clear sign of how his policy would differ from Obama’s so-called strategic patience.
This is part of a show of force in response to the new U.S. administration’s hard-line position against the North.
A South Korean military source said the missile reached an altitude of about 550 km.
While Seoul initially said the missile was probably a medium-range Rodong, it later said the launch was likely of a Musudan, which is designed to fly up to 3,000-4,000 km.
The North attempted eight Musudan launches last year.
Only one of those launches - of a missile that flew 400 km in June - was considered a success by officials and experts in South Korea and the United States.
Once fully developed, a North Korean ICBM could threaten the continental United States, which is about 9,000 km from North Korea.