Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

US says North Korean missile test ended in fiery crash


On Wednesday, it fired a newly developed missile into the sea, this time on the eve of the first meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

The United States and South Korea agreed Thursday to proceed with the deployment of an advanced US missile defense system that has angered China, a day after North Korea's latest test launch drew condemnation across the volatile region.

It is the latest in a series of tests which the North has been conducting in pursuit of its goal of developing a nuclear missile.

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".

Trump has called on Beijing, Pyongyang's closest ally, to exert more pressure on Kim Jong-un's regime to abandon the development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described the launch as "extremely problematic" and said Tokyo had lodged a strong protest.

Despite angry opposition from Beijing, the United States last month started to deploy the first elements of THAAD in South Korea.

The State Department issued a terse statement from America's top diplomat acknowledging "yet another" launch and saying "We have no further comment".

The latest North Korea missile test failed nine minutes into flight, making it only 40 miles before pinwheeling into the sea.

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"These are very concerning moments to me because we're not sure, every time they launch we're not sure if this is a threat missile or not", Hyten said.

During the conversation, Abe and Trump also stressed that China has a key role in persuading North Korea to put an end to its missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

On February 11, Pyongyang said it had successfully tested a new ballistic missile powered by a solid-fuel engine.

US officials said on Wednesday that the missile appeared to be a liquid-fueled, extended-range Scud missile which only traveled a fraction of its range.

In a statement, the agency said: "U.S". Others attribute North Korea's unsuccessful launches to poor-quality missiles, unreliable equipment, and incompetence. "They may have been trying to test one stage".

According to the FT, Trump said the US could "totally" handle the situation in North Korea without assistance from the Chinese, but he declined to go into specifics.

The Pentagon last April told Congress that North Korea continues to develop a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile that "would likely be capable of reaching much of the continental United States".

"We would have loved to see North Korea join the community of nations".

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