Trump after North Korea missile launch over Japan: 'All options are on the table'

(USA TODAY) -- President Trump warned Tuesday that "all options are on the table" in response to North Korea's provocative launch of a mid-range ballistic missile over Japanese territory for the first time.

Such "threatening and destabilizing actions" only increase North Korea’s isolation in the region and around the world, Trump said, adding that North Korea’s actions show "contempt for its neighbors."

Trump did not reveal what options he is considering. "We'll see, we'll see," he said before boarding a helicopter for a trip to tour flooded areas  of Texas,

North Korea has twice fired rockets that it said were carrying satellites over Japan — in 1998 and 2009 — but it is the first time it has fired a ballistic missile over the island nation.

The Pentagon confirmed that the missile's northeastern path "did not pose a threat to North America." a Pentagon statement said.

North Korea has threatened to fire missiles off the coast of Guam, a U.S. territory to the southeast. Trump said at the time that North Korea would be met with "fire and fury" if it followed through on the threat.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assailed the missile launch said he and Trump agreed in a phone call to seek an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council. He quoted Trump as saying the United States was "with Japan 100%."

Abe told reporters that he and Trump saw the launch as an unprecedented threat, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

At one point, residents in several prefectures in northern regions of Japan were told to take cover when the missile's flight path was detected.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled nearly 1,700 miles and reached a maximum height of 341 miles as it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service told lawmakers that the missile was launched from an airfield at the international airport in the capital, Pyongyang, the Associated Press reported.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described the test as an "unprecedented, grave threat."

The South Korean government said in a statement that it "condemns in the strongest terms this provocation." It said if the nuclear and missile provocations continue, it  will respond strongly based on a "stalwart" alliance with the United States.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha discussed in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson how to respond to the missile launch, South Korea's foreign ministry said.

They agreed to "sternly" take action at the U.N. Security Council, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

"The two also agreed to maintain close communication at every possible level by using such occasions including the upcoming U.N. General Assembly scheduled for September," the foreign ministry said, according to Yonhap.

South Korea released footage Tuesday of a missile test it conducted last week in response to the North's launch.

The launch comes amid a growing confrontation between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Trump.

The latest launch comes days after North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and a month after its second flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which analysts said could reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

This month U.S. and South Korean forces went ahead with their annual joint military exercises intended to practice for a possible attack from North Korea, which assailed the training as being provocative.

Under Kim, North Korea has accelerated development of nuclear weapons and missiles of capable of carrying them. Its stated aim is to develop weapons that could reach the U.S. mainland to deter an attack by American forces.

The United Nations has repeatedly condemned North Korea's weapons programs and imposed a series of ever-tightening economic sanctions that the reclusive nation has found ways to evade.

Trump has urged China to play a more active role in persuading Kim to halt his weapons programs since China is North Korea's closest political ally and economic benefactor.

China has pledged to try to restrain North Korea's tests but also appealed to Trump to lower his aggressive rhetoric. 

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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