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North Korea Launches Missile, Trump Speculates On Russia Response

People watch a TV news program showing a file image of a previous missile launch conducted by North Korea at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul. North Korea on Sunday test-launched a ballistic missile that landed in the Sea of Japan, the South Korean, Japanese and U.S. militaries said.

North Korea has launched a ballistic missile, the first launch since newly elected South Korean president Moon Jae-in has taken office.

Both Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe immediately condemned the launch, with Moon expressing "deep regret" that it occurred shortly after the new government was sworn in.

President Trump has been briefed on the latest missile test by North Korea.

A White House statement from press secretary Sean Spicer reads:

"With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil — in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan — the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased.

"North Korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long. South Korea and Japan have been watching this situation closely with us. The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea. Let this latest provocation serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea.

NPR's Lauren Frayer reports the exact type of missile is not yet known:

"The U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked this missile — and says flight data indicate that it was not an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM. Those are the missiles the U.S. is most worried about, with the ability to reach the U.S. West Coast.

"U.S. and South Korean military officials are still assessing what type of shorter-range missile this one was."

The missile traveled for about 30 minutes from Kusong, landing in the Sea of Japan. Japanese officials said it reached an unusually high altitude of 1,240 miles, which could indicate a new type of missile.

Abe said, "Japan is closely cooperating with the U.S. and South Korea and analyzing the situation as we firmly respond to the development."

The Associated Press reports:

"The launch also comes as troops from the U.S., Japan and two European nations gather near Guam for drills that are partly a message to North Korea. The USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft supercarrier, is also engaging with South Korean navy ships in waters off the Korean Peninsula, according to Seoul's Defense Ministry."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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