North Korea ‘conducts ballistic missile test’

February 12, 2017

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile, South Korea’s military says, the first such test since Donald Trump took office as US president. The missile was launched at 07:55 local time (22:55 GMT Saturday) and flew east towards the Sea of Japan for about 500km, South Korean officials say. Pyongyang has conducted a number of nuclear tests in the past year.

North Korea’s repeated missile and nuclear tests and aggressive statements continue to alarm and anger the region. Sunday’s launch took place from the Banghyon air base in North Pyongan province on the west side of the Korean peninsula.

A US defence official quoted by Reuters news agency said Washington “can confirm that we did detect a missile launch from North Korea”. A national security meeting called by the South Korean government is due to convene shortly to discuss the launch. South Korea’s Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff described the launch as a “show of force”.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in January that the country was close to testing long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

On a visit to South Korea last week, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said that any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with an “effective and overwhelming” response. He also reconfirmed plans to deploy a US missile defence system in South Korea later this year.

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