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Trump vows to 'very strongly' respond to North Korea

14 February 2017

During his New Year address on January 1, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had said that his country was close to launching an intercontinental ballistic missile indicating that the country was close to attacking the US.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missile was sacked from around Banghyon, North Pyongan Province, which is where South Korean officials have said the North test-launched its powerful midrange Musudan missile on October 15 and 20.

"The flight distance was about 500 kilometers, and South Korea and the United States are conducting a close-up analysis on additional information", South Korea's Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

This photo, according to and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, was taken February 12, 2017, and shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, surrounded by soldiers of the Korean People's Army as he inspects the test-launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile at an undisclosed location.

The KCNA report on the missile went on to say that the test solidified control and guidance capabilities, and further that the the device was able to launch with a high trajectory, instead of low, which gives it more range.

KCNA has hailed the test, which was observed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as a success, claiming it "proved the reliability and security of the surface launch system". Tests of another intermediate-range missile, the Musudan, met with mixed results.

"As such, it is a significant challenge to the Trump Administration because it has yet to develop its policies toward the region, toward North Korea, or its role in the United Nations and its use of economic sanctions".

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South Korea's defence ministry called it an armed provocation to test the response of US President Donald Trump.

The launch comes just a day after a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, during which Trump emphasized US military support for Japan, calling their alliance "a cornerstone of peace, prosperity, and freedom" in a joint statement.

"During the summit meeting that I had with President Trump, he assured me that the United States will always [be with] Japan 100 percent", the Japanese prime minister said.

South Korean military officials said Sunday's launch did not appear to be an ICBM but was more likely a Musudan or Rodong, which have a shorter range but can be used to make other technological advances. It was launched at 7.55am from Banghyon Air base, and flew east towards the Sea of Japan.

The Chinese Communist party newspaper, however, said that U.S. demands that Beijing pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear and missile programmes were pointless unless Washington examined its own role in fomenting the current tensions.

Kim Dong-yeop, an analyst at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, speculated the missile could be a Musudan or a similar rocket created to test engines for an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the US mainland, the AP reported. While Abe condemned the test as "absolutely intolerable", the USA president responded by stating that "America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100%".

Trump vows to 'very strongly' respond to North Korea