Published: Tue, February 14, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Trump says U.S. will deal with North Korea 'very strongly'

Trump says U.S. will deal with North Korea 'very strongly'

Last year, Pyongyang carried out 24 missile launches and two nuclear tests.

"North Korea openly states that its ballistic missiles are meant to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan", Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, explained.

Named the Pukguksong-2, the missile's naming convention appears to suggest it is a derivative of the Pukguksong-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile tested by North Korea in April 2016. "Pyongyang's behavior threatens not only our allies in East Asia, but also US national security and the American homeland".

The Trump administration had been expecting a North Korean "provocation" soon after taking office and will consider a full range of options in a response to Pyongyang's missile test, but calibrated to show USA resolve while avoiding escalation, a US official told Reuters on Saturday.

North Korea could face more sanctions in the wake of its latest ballistic missile test on Sunday, which has sparked alarm as it is seen to be a significant enhancement in Pyongyang's nuclear armoury.

Later that night, Trump made brief remarks alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying that the United States stands with its ally Japan. Tests of another intermediate-range missile, the Musudan, met with mixed results.

Condemnation of the test from world leaders was swift with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe labeling it as "absolutely intolerable" at a news conference in Florida where Abe has been visiting U.S. President Donald Trump.

Melania and Donald meeting Shinzo and Akie Abe
GETTY DEFIANT Donald and Shinzo warned Kim Jong-un to step down his nuke programme

First, he said, Trump should fully enforce existing US and multilateral sanctions, including by making sure China is enforcing its sanctions commitments under United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The United States and South Korean authorities confirmed the test, The New York Times reported. "It's a shift to solid fuel, a shift to a different kind of motor, and it's the sort of thing that if the United States and South Korea were not already certain about the need for more missile defenses, this really helps put those concerns to bed", Karako said.

He added that China, as a responsible member of the UNSC and the worldwide community, has always fully implemented the relevant resolutions and made efforts to push for a solution.

A fully developed ICBM could threaten the continental USA, which is about 9,000km from North Korea.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two a year ago, although its claims to be able to miniaturise a nuclear weapon to be mounted on a missile have never been verified independently.

"I think the North Koreans would be a little bit afraid that if [an ICBM] test failed that would obviously not make them look very good", he said.

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