North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile Off East Coast, South Korean Officials Say


Against the backdrop of the latest North Korean missile test, a new poll finds almost two-thirds of Americans are extremely concerned the Pyongyang regime has nuclear weapons and say they would back the use of US military force to protect allies in the region in the event of a serious conflict.

A JCS statement revealed the North fired a missile from the Sinpo area into the Sea of Japan at 6:42 a.m. (2142 Tuesday GMT).

Two weeks ago, the South Korean and US militaries said they had detected a failed North Korean ballistic missile launch.

Pyongyang has previously tested submarine-launched ballistic missiles from Sinpo.

North Korea fired a ballistic missile into its eastern waters Wednesday, U.S. and South Korean officials said, amid worries the North might conduct nuclear or long-range rocket tests ahead of the first summit between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping this week.

But on Sunday, Trump warned that the United States was prepared to act alone if China did not take a tougher stand against North Korea and put more pressure on that country. "We have no further comment", US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in the statement. However, the US government insists it is ready to consider all options to contain the North Korean threat given the reclusive state's continued defiance of United Nations resolutions.

A full suspension of trade between Japan and North Korea will continue, as well as the ban on North Korean vessels entering Japanese ports, SBS said on Friday citing Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko.

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North Korea also often responds to U.S.

Trump wants China to do more to exert its economic influence over unpredictable Pyongyang to restrain its nuclear and missile programs.

South Korean media have closely followed the North Korean team since their arrival on Saturday, with pictures of the players training or strolling on the beach plastered over the internet and TV.

Those ballistic missiles were launched from North Pyongan province, close to North Korea's border with China, and flew 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan off the east coast.

Even before the missile test, North Korea's nuclear program was expected to be an important talking point between Xi and Trump. North Korea also test-fired four extended range Scud missiles in early March.

In his first five years as North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un has overseen more than double the number of missile tests than his father did during his 17-year rule, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Regardless, nonproliferation experts say it is clear that North Korea is determined to make progress on its missile programme - and presumably on its goal to attach a nuclear warhead to a missile capable of reaching the mainland United States.