North Korea Fires Projectile into Sea of Japan

Kim Nong-gum of North Korea battles Georgina Farman of Britain for the puck during their game at the International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship Division II Group A at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung Gangwon Province

North Korea has also studied previous US ballistic missile hunts and improved its own tactics.

Initially thought to be a new two-stage solid fuel missile, it turned out to be an old single-stage liquid fuel missile.

US Pacific Command said it detected and tracked a North Korean launch, according to a statement and assessed it was a KN-15 medium range ballistic missile.

"The military is keeping a close watch over North Korea's provocative moves and maintaining a high defence posture", the statement added.

The US Navy's Third Fleet forward-deployed strike group, headed by the supercarrier USS Carl Vinson and supported by guided-missile destroyers and cruisers, was scheduled to visit Australia but it was announced on Saturday they had received orders to re-route toward the Korean Peninsula.

Trump and Xi are scheduled to hold their first face-to-face meeting this week at the USA president's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

North Korea called it a satellite launch.

In recent weeks, Korea has also seen a significant introduction of new US military hardware.

China will likely continue with its current policy of economically and militarily supporting the North Korean regime while, at the same time, ostensibly supporting sanctions against that regime for its nuclear weapons program.

"Well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will", he told the newspaper.

"I've joked before that they don't mind being hated but they definitely hate to be ignored", Cossa said.

The projectile could play a key role in the South Korean plan known as Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation, or KMPR, which could target the North Korean leadership in the event of a nuclear attack.

"This was Trump's first major move in worldwide affairs, and it leaves an impression that the decision was made in haste and not without contradiction", the newspaper said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, seeking assurances of US protection, was an early visitor to both the White House and Trump's Florida resort Mar-a-Lago. The missile launched in February flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles), but it wasn't immediately clear if the shorter distance meant Wednesday's launch was a failure.

North Korea failed in an attempt to launch a ballistic missile from its east coast two weeks ago. But unlike the KN-15, which uses solid fuel, the missile fired Wednesday used liquid fuel and was sacked from a fixed location, rather than a mobile launcher, the official said.

It's also an uncertain time for the region as the nascent Trump administration has yet to spell out its broader strategy for North Korea, which has increased its nuclear capabilities over the past few years.

Meanwhile, Japan has highly condemned the missile launch and said that it violated UN Security Council resolutions.

In February the North simultaneously fired four ballistic missiles off its east coast, three of which fell provocatively close to Japan, in what it said was a drill for an attack on USA bases in the neighbouring Asian country. The United States, South Korea and others call North Korea's space program a cover for its long-range missile development program.

The test elicited a terse response from the US State Department, unlike the standard diplomatic condemnations that usually follow Pyongyang's missile tests.

Mark Lippert, the former U.S, ambassador to South Korea, said nuclear deployment there is a concept that's been embraced by a growing number of Koreans.

South Korea is protected under an American security umbrella and is home to thousands of United States troops.

Many weapons experts say the North could have a functioning nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the continental United States within a few years.

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