North Korea: Pyongyang lands missile in Japan's territorial waters

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As stated by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats during a briefing to Congress, "North Korea is an increasingly grave national security threat to the United States because of its growing missile and nuclear capabilities combined with the aggressive approach of its leader Kim Jong Un".

North Korea test-fired a missile today into Japan's maritime economic zone - the latest in a series of provocative launches that have heightened tensions over its nuclear weapons ambitions.

President Donald Trump has denounced the launch, saying the North has "shown great disrespect" for China, trying to calm the situation. South Korea's Yonhap news agency, without citing a source, said the projectile is believed to be a ballistic missile, but the South Korean military said it was still analyzing what exactly the North launched.

Prior to Tuesday, the USA military had conducted 17 tests of its missile-defense system and nine were successful.

Yesterday's launch was Pyongyang's third ballistic missile test since the inauguration on May 10 of South Korean President Moon Jae In, who favours friendly relations with the North. North Korea has a large stockpile of Scud missiles, originally developed by the Soviet Union.

Despite the threats of increased sanctions from worldwide powers, the pace at which North Korea is testing missiles seems to be gaining speed.

More news: China installs rocket launchers on disputed reef in South China sea

The US military has staged a successful, first-ever missile defence test involving a simulated attack by an intercontinental ballistic missile, as concerns mount over North Korea's advancing missile and nuclear program.

Besides its regular ballistic missile test-launches, North Korea carried out two of its five nuclear tests a year ago - in January and September.

And if a diplomatic solution isn't possible, what would a war with North Korea look like? "North Korea is not too happy about this", said Looi. Kim may have deliberately fired it toward waters that are claimed by both Japan and South Korea to foment discord between the nations and undermine co-operation with the US, according to Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California.

He called on Japan to speak and act cautiously on the South China Sea and to play a constructive role as relevant countries in the region are making efforts to solve the issue properly.

The latest launch demonstrates the North's determination to secure more leverage in any future negotiations with the United States, said Cho Han-Bum, analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification.

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