Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that he and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed in a telephone call that North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch was "a unsafe provocation and a serious threat".
Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile on Wednesday into its eastern waters, South Korea's military said, ahead of a summit between USA and Chinese leaders set to discuss Pyongyang's arms program.
Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff says in a statement that the missile fired from the North's eastern coastal town of Sinpo on Wednesday morning flew about 60 kilometers (37 miles.) It gave no further details.
"It spun out of control after going only a fraction of its range", the official said.
Japan has lodged a protest following a reported North Korea ballistic missile launch.
North Korea has carried out its latest missile launch ahead of a US-China meeting where Kim Jong-Un's aggression is expected to be high on the agenda. -China summit in Florida, Trump had threatened to use crucial trade ties with China to pressure Beijing into more action on North Korea.
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The head of the U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force General John Hyten, told a Senate panel this week that "although North Korea is not an existential threat", it's "the most unsafe and unpredictable actor in the Pacific region". When conducting nuclear and missiles tests in recent years, it has cited what it calls increasing USA military threats. North Korea fired a ballistic missile into its e.
Since then, North Korea has further ramped up its tests and rhetoric, emphasizing a consistent message: To create a nuclear device small enough to mount on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and fire it at the United States. Many weapons experts say the North could have a functioning nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the continental USA within a few years.
North Korea has denied using big global events to get outside attention in order to wrest concessions and aid. The missile launch may be a precursor, with more to come as the summit starts Thursday, he said.
One expert said it could have been a test of a new missile intended as a stepping stone toward developing a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the US mainland. North Korea's state media has also said the world will soon witness what it calls "eventful successes" the country achieves in the space development.
The North's latest missile launch also came during annual military drills between the United States and South Korea.
In an interview with The Financial Times earlier this week, Trump also mentioned that the USA would act unilaterally to stop North Korea, if China did not assist with the process. 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 the "East Sea"). North Korea sees the drills as an invasion rehearsal.