Seoul: North Korea fires ballistic missile off east coast

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North Korea has carried out several SLBM tests near Sinpo.

But Beijing is wary of putting too much pressure on North Korea for fear of the unpredictable consequences if the state collapses.

These developments have left the North Korean regime isolated and justifiably fearful for its future. FILE - In this March 14, 2017 file photo, a U.S. Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter approaches the deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during the annual joint military exercise called Foal Eagle betwe.

"We used to have the luxury of saying North Korea just wants attention", said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.).

This latest trial comes ahead of a summit between US and Chinese leaders who are set to discuss Pyongyang's arms programme.

The Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch and demanded a halt to all missile tests, stressing again that they violate United Nations sanctions and "are significantly increasing tension in the region and beyond".

The statement from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson totaled 23 words: "North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile".

When North Korea test-fired this missile in February, South Korean officials said it flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles) before landing in worldwide waters.

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The missile was sacked at a high angle and reached an altitude of 189 km (117 miles), the official said.

Meanwhile, Trump made headlines earlier this week by asserting in an interview in the Financial Times that the USA would act alone against North Korea if China fails to engage. When conducting nuclear and missiles tests in recent years, it has cited what it calls increasing USA military threats.

Pyongyang, which normally boasts of any successful missile test through its state-run media the following day, has yet to mention anything about Wednesday's test.

Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS think tank in Honolulu, said he was expecting North Korea would do something to coincide with the Trump-Xi summit, perhaps conduct a nuclear test. The missile launch may be a precursor, with more to come as the summit starts Thursday, he said.

North Korea could choose to continue with missile-related activities through next week, when the isolated and impoverished country celebrates the 105th anniversary of the birth of the state's founder, Kim Il Sung.

Many South Korean experts say "Pukguksong-2" missile would be a greater security threat because it can be launched anywhere from a ground-based mobile vehicle.

It was not known what type of missile it was as the military authorities of South Korea and the United States are still analyzing the firing.

On Sunday, Trump held out the possibility of using trade as a lever to secure Chinese cooperation, while suggesting Washington might deal with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes on its own if need be.

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