SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea has conducted its first missile launch in more than two months.
The new intercontinental ballistic missile launched early Wednesday morning. It was described as the Hwasong-15, with the capability to carry a nuclear warhead and with “significantly more” power than missiles North Korea tested earlier.
North Korea’s state media say leader Kim Jong Un ordered his engineers to launch the ICBM with “courage” a day ahead of the flight test where it demonstrated its reach deep into the U.S. mainland.
Outside governments and analysts concur the North made a jump in missile capability with the launch.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe following the latest test and pledged joint efforts to strengthen sanctions and pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear ambitions.
Moon’s office said the leaders agreed during the phone conversation Wednesday that the threat posed by North Korea’s expanding nuclear program should no longer be tolerated and vowed to push for stronger measures against the North at an upcoming U.N. Security Council meeting.
Moon’s office also said he told Abe that he will also ask Chinese leader Xi Jinping for Beijing to take a stronger role in pressuring Pyongyang when he visits China in December.
China’s foreign ministry says the country is “seriously concerned about and opposed to” North Korea’s latest missile test.
China is North Korea’s only significant ally and biggest source of trade and aid, but has backed increasingly harsh U.N. Security Council resolutions in hopes of convincing Pyongyang to return to talks.
Moon and Abe spoke with President Donald Trump earlier in the day and reaffirmed their condemnation for North Korea’s expanding nuclear program.
President Trump told reporters Tuesday the United States will “take care of it”.
The White House said earlier that Trump was briefed on the launch. Press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that Trump “was briefed, while the missile was still in the air, on the situation in North Korea.”
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