North Korea is starting to back up its military bluster

Posted February 14, 2017

However, China said that the root cause of North Korean missile launches is friction with the USA and South Korea.

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.

North Korea conducted two unauthorized nuclear test explosions previous year and launched almost two dozen rockets in continuing efforts to expand its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Sunday's test is seen as a show of force against US President Donald Trump and came as he was meeting Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe.

Trump and his aides are likely to weigh a series of possible responses, including new US sanctions to tighten financial controls, an increase in USA naval and air assets in and around the Korean peninsula and accelerated installation of new missile defense systems in South Korea, the official said.

The Pentagon is not overly anxious about this latest launch, but they are concerned about an intercontinental ballistic missile that could one day reach the U.S.

Pyongyang has touted the weapon's ability to carry a nuclear warhead, and the North's state news agency KCNA said leader Kim Jong Un yesterday "expressed great satisfaction over the possession of another powerful nuclear attack means which adds to the tremendous might of the country".

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The launch was the first North Korean ballistic missile test to have occurred during the Trump presidency.

South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae convened a national security council (NSC) meeting, which was chaired by top presidential security advisor Kim Kwan-jin.

Leonid Slutsky, head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee, said: "The missile test is a reminder that we should not relax".

We considered other alternate interpretations of this test, such as a failed or partial ICBM test in which only the first stage was functional, but the trajectory is not a good match for the first stage of any of North Korea's known ICBM projects.

A fully developed ICBM could threaten the continental United States, which is about 9,000km from North Korea. South Korean military officials said it reached an altitude of about 550 km. Over the past year it has conducted two nuclear tests and more than 20 missile tests.

A USA official said the missile was a KN-11 sub-based missile. He said that in his summit with Trump at the White House on Friday the president "assured me the United States will always stand with Japan 100 percent".