Washington: North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile but it failed to go beyond its territory, the US said today, as Pyonyang’s defiant move amid repeated warnings from Washington ratcheted up tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
“The US Pacific Command detected what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 10:33 AM Hawaii time, April 28. The ballistic missile launch occurred near the Pukchang airfield,” Dave Benham, United States Pacific Command spokesman, said in a statement.
“The missile did not leave (the) North Korean territory,” Benham said.
Responding to the development, US President Donald Trump slammed North Korea for the provocative move.
“North Korea disrespected the wishes of China and its highly respected President (Xi Jinping) when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!” Trump said in a tweet last night, hours after North Korea carried out yet another missile test.
The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America, Benham said.
“US Pacific Command stands behind our steadfast commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan,” he said. According to reports, the missile was likely a medium- range KN-17 ballistic missile.
The North Korea missile test came a day after the Trump administration praised China and its President Xi for having prevailed over Pyongyang in not carrying out either a nuclear test or a missile test.
Sending a tough warning to North Korea, the US yesterday said the policy of strategic patience was over and no options were off the table in dealing with the nuclear threat posed by Pyongyang.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a UN Security Council meeting on North Korea said yesterday that Washington’s goal was “not regime change” in the isolated country nor does it “desire to threaten the North Korean people or destabilise the Asia Pacific region”.
“The policy of strategic patience is over. Additional patience will only mean acceptance of a nuclear North Korea. The more we bide our time, the sooner we will run out of it,” Tillerson said while chairing the meeting as the President of the Council.
Military options for dealing with the North were still “on the table”, Tillerson had warned.
The US is deploying a naval strike group led by an aircraft carrier to the Korean peninsula, and a missile- defence system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).