Published: Mon, May 01, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

North Korea fires missile, defying USA push for new sanctions


Another missile has been test-fired from North Korea as tensions between the east-Asian country and the USA rise.

A Pacific Command spokesman said: "The North American Aeropace Command determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America".

The joint chiefs said in a statement on Saturday that the missile was sacked 49 degrees northeast from an area near Pukchang, just north of the capital Pyongyang.

The UN discussion is happening as the White House has declared that all options, including a targeted military strike, are on the table to stop North Korea.

Major components of the missile defence system have been moved into place in Seongju, a southeastern county, sparking protests from South Koreans who oppose Seoul's military alliance with the U.S. and local residents who fear the installation makes them a target. China transferred about 8 of these sophisticated vehicles to North Korea in 2011 and they appeared in the 15 April parade, carrying a new large cold-launch missile tube similar in size to the latest Chinese and Russian mobile solid-fuelled ICBMs.

McMaster told Fox News on Sunday that China's cooperation was as a result of Trump's pledge to take military action against North Korea if Beijing didn't start to apply more pressure by enforcing existing sanctions.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the council that diplomacy is not hopeless, and he said China can not be expected to rein in North Korea on its own.

"All options for responding to future provocations must remain on the table", he said.

"Diplomatic and financial levers of power will be backed up by willingness to counteract North Korean aggression with military action, if necessary", he said.

Trump this week said there's "a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea", but added he would prefer a diplomatic resolution.

The United States may just be lining up the largest coalition possible in the region to present a united front against North Korea, said professor Jens David Ohlin, an worldwide law expert at Cornell Law School.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had previously warned the United Nations failure to curb North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to "catastrophic consequences".

Trump did not answer reporters' questions about the missile launch upon returning to the White House from a daytrip to Atlanta.

The Security Council session Friday comes at a particularly tense time in relations between North Korea and the United States, with the Trump administration sending warships to the region in a show of force against Kim's regime.

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A United States government source said initial indications suggested it was unsuccessful, and officials said the missile did not leave North Korean territory.

Italian UN ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, who heads the UN committee that could sanction North Korea, said he hoped Pyongyang would "refrain from any other further escalation".

South Korea said it was Washington's cost to bear under the bilateral agreement.

It didn't immediately provide an estimate on how far the missile flew, but a USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, said it was likely a medium-range KN-17 ballistic missile.

China remains one of North Korea's only allies and is responsible for much of the heavily-sanctioned nation's economy.

But UN sanctions experts have repeatedly told the council the measures have had little impact because they have been poorly implemented.

Mr Johnson the United Kingdom will stand up to Jong Un - despite warnings form the despot that his country will "never stop" nuclear and missile tests. The U.S. official, however, wouldn't confirm any meetings beyond ones with officials at U.S. Forces in Korea and the U.S. Embassy.

Boris Johnson today accused North Korea of issuing "blood-curdling threats" amid growing fears it will drag the world into nuclear war.

Vice-President Mike Pence reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to South Korea's security but said on NBC that Trump would "continue to call on the prosperous nations that the United States provides security and protection for to do more in their own defense".

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the council that diplomacy is not hopeless, and he said China can not be expected to rein in North Korea on its own.

The firing happened in an area to the north of Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

The United States is ready to impose sanctions on third countries where companies or individuals are found to have helped North Korea's military programmes, he said.

Tillerson said the North must take "concrete steps" to reduce its weapons threat before talks could occur.

Tillerson offered some Friday, telling the council that the United States is not seeking "regime change" to topple the Kim family dynasty.

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