Last August, Pyongyang also successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile 500 kilometres towards Japan, far exceeding any previous sub-launched tests, in what the North's leader Kim Jong-Un hailed as the "greatest success".
North Korea has carried out its latest missile launch ahead of a US-China meeting where Kim Jong-Un's aggression is expected to be high on the agenda. Abe applauded America's approach, stressing that the strong US security commitment will lend weight to Japan's intent to urge North Korea to refrain from further provocations and observe U.N. Security Council resolutions as well as other rulings.
The European Union on Thursday imposed additional sanctions on North Korea over nuclear and ballistic missile tests which it said threatened global security.
Visitors sit in front of the TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea's missile firing, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 5, 2017.
Known as "Pukguksong-2" in North Korea, it's a newly developed, solid-fuel missile whose first publicly known test occurred in February.
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The North has fired missiles when South Korea hosted the 2010 Group of 20 summit and other events, and while top US officials were traveling in the region.
Deputy National Security Advisor Kathleen Troia (K.T.) McFarland, on the other hand, stated that it is most likely that North Korea would launch a nuclear strike to the US mainland by 2020, according to the Financial Times as cited by TruNews.
The latest launch came after President Donald Trump threatened the USA was prepared to go it alone in bringing the North to heel if China did not step in, and ahead of a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. "We believe North Korea would conduct another provocation".
The aim appears to be a dual economic and military approach to pressure North Korea.
"Any launch of objects using ballistic missile technology is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. We have no further comment", US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in the statement. "The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America".
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Japan's Kyodo News agency reported that Tokyo would continue its prohibition of all trade between Japan and North Korea for two more years and ban all North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports.
The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised the House for passing the legislation "swiftly with overwhelming support", adding that it "reflects the wide support within the U.S. Congress on the need for a joint response on the level of the South Korea-U.S. alliance on the gravity of North Korea's nuclear and missile threat and also the retaliatory measures by China over the Thaad issue". Analysts were trying to determine if the shorter distance meant Wednesday's launch was a failure.
North Korea has been increasingly provocative in recent weeks.
President Donald Trump had warned on Sunday in an interview with Financial Times that he could take unilateral action to eliminate North Korea's nuclear threat.
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