North Korea has test-fired another ballistic missile, defying international pressure and earning a swift and angry rebuke from President Donald Trump.
The launch was made Tuesday morning from a site in North Korea’s North Phyongan province, according to U.S. Pacific Command. The missile was tracked for 37 minutes and landed in the Sea of Japan, it said.
The test comes after a string of recent tests, including a salvo of missiles last month and three tests in May alone. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has now launched more missiles in one year than his father launched during 17 years in power.
The rate and variety of tests has alarmed experts, who see the launches as part of an effort to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.
Trump has made tackling the issue a priority, focusing his efforts on getting China to pressure the Kim regime and cut off its nuclear weapons program.
As news of Tuesday’s test emerged, Trump weighed in on Twitter, calling out Kim and appearing to call on China to do more to pressure him.
“North Korea has just launched another missile,” Trump wrote. “Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?
“Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer,” he continued. “Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all.”
In recent weeks, there have been signs that the U.S. president is frustrated with China’s progress. On June 21, he tweeted that, while he appreciated Beijing’s efforts, “it has not worked out.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared to share his frustration. In remarks to the the press on Tuesday, Abe vowed to work closely with the United States and South Korea, but called on China and Russia to do more.
“North Korea forcibly launched a ballistic missile again. This ignores repeated warnings by the international community. This launch clearly shows its threat has increased,” he said, according to NHK, a Japanese broadcaster.
“I’d like to strongly urge international society’s cooperation on the North Korea issue and urge China’s Chairman Xi Jinping and Russia’s President Putin to take more constructive measures.”
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Emily Rauhala