"We will take care of it" says Trump as NK missile launch likely to escalate tensions

Update 10.28pm: The UN Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting on North Korea's latest launch.

Italy chairs the council and its spokesman said the Wednesday afternoon meeting was requested by Japan, the US and South Korea.

The Security Council has already imposed its toughest-ever sanctions on Kim Jong Un's government in response to its escalating nuclear and ballistic missile programs and the US and Japan are likely to seek even stronger measures.

Update 9pm: North Korea abruptly ended a 10-week pause in its weapons testing Tuesday by launching what the Pentagon believes was an intercontinental ballistic missile, a move that will escalate already high tensions with Washington.

President Donald Trump, who was briefed while the missile was still in the air, later reacted to the launch by saying: "We will take care of it."

The president, meeting Republican politicians in Washington, said: "It is a situation that we will handle."

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said that the missile was launched from Sain Ni, North Korea, and travelled about 620 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan.

Japan said it may have landed within 200 nautical miles of its coast.

The launch is North Korea's first since it fired an intermediate range missile over Japan on September 15, and it appeared to shatter chances that the hiatus could lead to renewed diplomacy over the reclusive country's nuclear programme.

US officials have sporadically floated the idea of direct talks with North Korea if it maintained restraint.

An intercontinental ballistic missile test will be considered particularly provocative as it would signal further progress by Pyongyang in developing a weapon of mass destruction that could strike the US mainland, which President Donald Trump has vowed to prevent.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the US and South Korean militaries were analysing the launch data from the missile, which it said was fired from an area in a city close to North Korea's capital.

In response, it said South Korea conducted a "precision-strike" drill, without elaborating.

South Korea's presidential office said it was holding a National Security Council meeting at 6am on Wednesday local time to discuss the launch.

A week ago, the Trump administration declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, further straining ties between governments that are still technically at war.

Washington also imposed new sanctions on North Korean shipping firms and Chinese trading companies dealing with the North.

North Korea called the terror designation a "serious provocation" that justifies its development of nuclear weapons.

Echoing the initial US assessment, Japan's defence minister Itsunori Onodera said the missile was likely an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"We can assume it was ICBM-class," Mr Onodera said.

The South Korea said the missile travelled a distance of 600 miles.

It estimated the apogee at 2796 miles.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missile landed in the Sea of Japan.

He called the provocation unacceptable and said Tokyo has filed a strong protest.

In Washington, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that Mr Trump was briefed on the situation "while missile was still in the air".

Update 7.49pm: North Korea missile launch believed to be latest in a series of tests 

North Korea has launched a ballistic missile, according to reports.

South Korea's military has said the missile was fired from an area north of Pyongyang early on Wednesday local time.

The Yonhap news agency reported South Korea's joint chiefs of staff saying that it and US authorities are analysing the trajectory.

A US official also said a launch had taken place.

The launch is the first since September 15 when North Korea fired an intermediate ballistic missile.

US President Donald Trump was briefed on the apparent launch, the White House said.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a tweet Mr Trump "was briefed, while missile was still in the air, on the situation in North Korea".

At the time of the launch, Mr Trump was in a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Update 7.10pm: According to the BBC it is believed the reported launch is the latest in a series of tests.

According the BBC it is not clear how far the missile went or whether it flew over Japan as other missiles did earlier this year.

The Pentagon are said to be still assessing the "probable" launch which took place at approximately 03:30 local time (18:30 GMT).

Earlier: Reports that North Korea has fired new ballistic missile 'eastward'

South Korean media, quoting military officials, have said that North Korea has fired a ballistic missile.

According to Reuters the news has been confirmed by a US government source.

The BBC report that South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the missile flew eastward from Pyongsong in South Pyongan province.

North Korea has test fired several other missiles this year, including its first intercontinental ballistic missiles, increasing tensions over its nuclear programme.

The BBC go on to report that South Korean and US authorities are working together to analyse the latest missile’s trajectory according to South Korean military chiefs.

More as we get it ...


 

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