North Korea launches missile; launch being assessed

Launch was from western North Korea.

ByABC News
May 14, 2017, 5:26 AM

— -- North Korea launched a missile today, a U.S. official said, confirming reports in South Korean media.

A U.S. official said the missile landed in the Sea of Japan after being launched from western North Korea. The type of missile launched today is still being assessed.

According to U.S. Pacific Command, the missile was launched near Kusung and landed in the Sea of Japan.

The type of missile is being assessed, but the flight was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to a statement from U.S. PACOM spokesman Major Rob Shuford.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America, the statement said.

A statement released late Saturday night by the White House said President Trump was "briefed on the latest missile test by North Korea."

It continued, "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."

The statement also acknowledged the missile test's close proximity to Russia: "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."

But the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, "The given rocket launch posed no danger to the Russian Federation. The resources of the Russian early warning system about [the] rocket attack and the monitoring missile defense forces will maintain combat watch in scheduled mode.

The ministry said the missile flew for about 23 minutes before crashing into the sea around 500 km (310 miles) from Russia into the center of the Sea of Japan.

"The flight trajectory of the North Korean missile passed in the direction from the Russian border and at a significant distance," the statement said.

The South Korean government said the launch occurred at 5:27 a.m. Sunday, local time, from the Kusong area in North Pyongan Province. The missile flew about 435 miles to the sea of Japan.

"Our military are closely monitoring North Korean forces' trends and maintaining its readiness," the South Korean statement said.

The launch -- the seventh this year -- comes only days after the inauguration of South Korea's President Moon Jae-In, who has repeatedly hinted the new administration would prefer engagement and a softer approach on North Korea.

"Possibility of dialogue with North Korea is still open but we should react firmly against provocations so that North Korea would not misjudge (our intentions)," President Moon said after convening an emergency meeting of the country's National Security Council.

And Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he and President Moon discussed by phone the missile test, while his top national security adviser also spoke with his U.S. counterpart. Abe told reporters Sunday that the launch, which is banned by the United Nations, is "absolutely unacceptable" and that Japan will respond resolutely.

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

ABC News' Joohee Cho and Patrick Reevell contributed to this report.

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