Take it Trump! North Korea test-fires ballistic missile

"We are assessing and will have more information soon".

The Trump administration has promised to take a tough line against Pyongyang, but in his brief response on Sunday, the president said only that the USA stood "100%" by its ally Japan.

The letter was sent Friday prior to North Korea's latest missile test, but released Sunday after the test.

North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un supervised the test of the Pukguksong-2, a new type of strategic weapon capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

It added that the missile was sacked at a high angle in consideration of neighbouring countries.

The US military also said it had detected a missile test launch by the North and was assessing it, according to a US defence official in Washington.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country would be in range of any hostile North Korean launch, called the test "absolutely intolerable" during an impromptu press conference with Mr Trump in Florida.

That assessment reflected concern as well as frustration among USA officials, who see North Korea pushing ahead, in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with development of missiles capable of striking us territory with nuclear weapons.

The South Korean defence ministry said it believed that the timing of the weapons-test was no coincidence.

Melania and Donald meeting Shinzo and Akie Abe
GETTY DEFIANT Donald and Shinzo warned Kim Jong-un to step down his nuke programme

Gardner also encouraged Trump to accelerate the deployment of a missile defense system to South Korea.

The launch was one of North Korea's longest to date. Trump said that the US "stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent".

'The message we're sending to the world right now is a message of strength and solidarity; we stand with Japan and we stand with our allies in the region to address the North Korean menace, ' Mr Miller said on ABC's This Week.

But to give him his due, he has not responded to North Korea's first provocation in the way many probably feared. Beijing has joined in global efforts to press Kim Jong-un to rein in his nuclear ambitions.

The tyrannical leader of North Korea has made it his mission to dramatically increase the amount of nukes in his control in less than a year.

Xu Liping, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Pyongyang's provocations had strengthened the USA alliances with Japan and South Korea.

The missile reached an altitude of about 550km (350 miles), the South Korean military said. "As the government, we will continue to push China for constructive involvement at various levels", the Japanese spokesman added. This was the latest in a series of tests in the past year, including North Korea's fifth of a nuclear device.

If those claims are true, it would represent another step in Pyongyang's quest for an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the United States mainland.

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  • Sonia Alvarado