North Korea fires 'BALLISTIC MISSILE', South Korean media reports

North Korea fires 'BALLISTIC MISSILE', South Korean media reports

North Korea fires 'BALLISTIC MISSILE', South Korean media reports

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and several missile-related tests since early previous year and was seen by experts and officials to be making progress in its weapons capabilities.

USA military officials said they believe the test was of a "medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile" that posed no immediate threat to North America.

President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to "deal with" North Korea, calling it "a big, big problem" without mentioning the ballistic missile it test-fired over the weekend or any planned American response.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is meeting with Trump in Palm Beach, Florida, called the launch "absolutely intolerable". Mr Trump declared that America "stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100%".

The Security Council hit the North with two rounds of sanctions previous year in response to a pair of nuclear tests and multiple ballistic missile launches.

A Pentagon official said: "We can confirm that we did detect a missile launch from North Korea".

The missile test came amid signs that Trump, having previously chided Japan for what he said was an insufficient contribution to the cost of housing United States troops there, is seeking to reset his relationship with Abe.

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The launch, the military believed, was aimed at drawing attention by showing off its nuclear and missile capability and was also part of armed protest against the Trump administration's hard-line stance toward the DPRK.

Experts suggest the tests are programmed for shorter distances to avoid a missile landing on Japan.

His restraint was all the more welcome for the fact that some analysts were suggesting the missile being tested could be the first stage of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the Unites States.

Seoul-based academic Yang Moo-Jin said the latest test was "a celebratory launch" to mark the February 16 birthday of Kim Jong-Il, late ruler and father of current leader Kim Jong-Un.

The missile, which was launched at Panghyon from North Phyongan Province at 0755 KST and traveled around 500km after a rapid vertical ascent of 550km, has not yet been identified, but appears likely to have been a Rodong-type mid-range missile.

Despite objections from Russian Federation and China, the two countries agreed to deploy it in the South in response to the North's tests. "The missile was tracked over North Korea and into the Sea of Japan", U.S. Strategic Command said in a statement late Saturday night.

One image posted to social media - showing controversial adviser Steve Bannon hovering behind Mr Trump - claims to capture the scene.

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