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Groundhog Day: N. Korea launches more ballistic missiles

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Trump's confidence was met with skepticism from North Korea's security analysts, who noted that the missileissue has long confounded the worldwide community - and that Trump hasn't detailed a strategy for dealing with the North.

"North Korea fired a projectile that appears to be a ballistic missile", he said.

The latest test came a day after Trump held a summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and also followed Trump's phone call last week with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The South has said that Sunday's launch was intended as a test for Trump, who responded by pledging "100 percent" support for Washington's key regional ally Japan.

The Global Times editorial yesterday blamed the US and South Korea's responses, such as strengthening sanctions, for hastening the North's nuclear and missile tests.

North Korea asserted Monday that the Pukguksong-2, which it successfully test-fired, is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

The Feb. 14 editorial "A new strategy for North Korea" argued that the United States should use sticks and carrots to "end the North Korean threat". The missile was tracked over North Korea and into waters off its eastern coast.

The foreign ministers of Japan, the United States and South Korea condemned in a joint statement on Thursday "in the strongest terms" North Korea's test-launch of a ballistic missile Sunday, reaffirming trilateral security cooperation. "Obviously, North Korea is a big, big problem and we will deal with that very strongly", Mr. Trump said.

U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood said: "All efforts to advance North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capabilities must cease", adding: "If ever there were a situation that called for worldwide collective action to ensure our mutual security, it is this".

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The missile was launched at 0755 h local time (2255 h GMT 11 February) from a location 9 km north of Panghyon in North Pyongan province on the west side of the Korean peninsula and flew east for about 500 km into the Sea of Japan.

But the official said that, given that the missile test was believed not to have been a threatened intercontinental missile test and that Pyongyang had not carried out a new nuclear explosion, any response will seek to avoid ratcheting up tensions.

Two recent studies - one by the Council on Foreign Relations, and one by the Asia Society and the University of California at San Diego - have recommended sanctions against North Korea and the deployment of missile defenses in South Korea.

They also compared notes on North Korea's domestic situation after Kim Jong Nam, 45, the elder half-brother of Kim Jong Un, was killed in Malaysia, possibly with poison.

North Korea on Wednesday rejected a U.N. Security Council statement that denounced its missile launch and said it was exercising a sovereign right to self-defence.

In his New Year's Day address, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un announced that the country had reached the final stages of readiness for an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) which could reach the U.S. mainland.

The National Security Council convened an emergency meeting to discuss the missile test on Sunday.

But it's unlikely that the meeting will lead to any serious punishment for North Korea, which is already under a slew of United Nations and other global sanctions.

The US has been pushing to deploy a larger range missile defense system to South Korea, known as Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD), as a kind of admission that the current systems have weaknesses and flaws.

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