North Korea ballistic missile launch challenges new leader in Seoul

The White House's statement also had harsh words for North Korea.

Kishida says the worldwide community should prioritize efforts to implement the existing U.N. Security Council resolutions barring North Korea's missile and nuclear technology more thoroughly.

South Korea needs to show the North that even though talks are possible, it will only be possible if North Korea changes its attitude, the President told staff.

In an interview in April with Reuters, President Trump warned that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea was possible, but said he would prefer a diplomatic resolution to the issue of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

"It tells China, 'I don't care what you think, I'm independent, '" he said.

"North Korea's pursuit of nuclear technology has impaired its own security as well as the region's, and it has also jeopardized China's national security", the paper said in an editorial this month.

On Sunday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping launched a major trade and infrastructure summit with multiple world leaders in Beijing. Russia's President Vladimir Putin is also there.

Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korean studies professor at Dongguk University in Seoul, said that Trump appeared to be anxious Seoul and Washington might not be on the same page in dealing with Pyongyang.

The White House also suggested Trump felt that the intermediate-range missile, which flew more than 700 kilometers (435 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan, may have caused some anger in Russia because of the proximity of its impact to Russian territory.

North Korea's latest launch of a ballistic missile Sunday drew strong criticism from the United States and other nations.

Pyongyang's missiles that target Japan have been particularly worrisome, as they could pose serious obstacles to the augmentation of US troops from Japan to the Korean Peninsula in case of a peninsular contingency.

"All relevant parties should exercise restraint and refrain from further aggravating tensions in the region", the foreign ministry said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters on Sunday that the launch is "absolutely unacceptable" and that Japan will respond resolutely. The launch is a direct challenge to the new South Korean president elected four days ago and comes as U.S., Japanese and European navies gather for joint war games in the Pacific.

The launch comes just days after South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in pledged to engage it in dialogue. The U.S. Pacific Command said it was assessing the missile which was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea's past long-range satellite launches have been called clandestine tests of ICBM technology, but it is not believed to have tested a true intercontinental ballistic missile yet.

"At a time when the United States has adopted a pressure-first, talks-later stance in dealing with North Korea's nuclear weapons threat, [Trump] is afraid South Korea might pull the talks-first option out, leading to a cacophony between Seoul and Washington".

The launch was "getting close to home" for Russia, Haley said, adding that it was not a way for Kim Jong Un to earn a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

No sitting U.S. president has ever met with the leader of North Korea while in power, and the idea is extremely controversial.

David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that the missile could have a range of 4,500 kilometers (about 2,800 miles) if flown on a standard, instead of a lofted, trajectory - considerably longer than Pyongyang's current missiles.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum Sunday, Guan Jianxing, 22, a native of Dandong on the border with North Korea, said she was "very anxious about the situation".

Kim's regime has sought to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

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