29 Aug 2017

President Trump Says 'All options are on the table' after North Korea ballistic missile launch

In a first, North Korea on Tuesday fired a mid-range ballistic missile over Japan, further escalating tensions with the United States and its allies over the reclusive nation's nuclear and missile program.

The Pentagon confirmed the missile launch, saying it is still being assessed.

"North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America," a Pentagon statement said.

President Trump said Tuesday that "all options are on the table" in response to the launch.

Trump's written statement said "threatening and destabilizing actions" only increase North Korea’s isolation in the region and around the world and that North Korea’s actions show "contempt for its neighbors."

South Korea said the North has twice fired rockets it said were carrying satellites over Japan — in 1998 and 2009 — but it is the first time it has fired a ballistic missile over the island nation, the Associated Press reported.

The Japanese government issued an immediate rebuke. At one point, residents in several prefectures in northern regions of Japan were told to take cover.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that he and Trump spoke over the phone and that both leaders saw the launch as an unprecedented threat, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

Abe said he and Trump would seek an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council and quoted Trump as saying that the United States stood by Japan 100%.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled around 1,700 miles and reached a maximum height of 341 miles as it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service told lawmakers that the missile was launched from an airfield at Pyongyang’s international airport, according to the AP.

More: Global stocks fall, rattled by North Korean missile launch

More: U.S. revises assessment on North Korean missile launches

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described the test as an "unprecedented, grave threat".

The South Korean government said in a statement that it "condemns in the strongest terms this provocation." It said if the nuclear and missile provocations continue, it  will respond strongly based on a "stalwart" alliance with the United States.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha discussed in a phone call with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson how to respond to the missile launch, South Korea's foreign ministry said.

They agreed to "sternly" take action at the U.N. Security Council, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

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