US backs Japan '100 per cent' after N. Korea missile launch

Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe (left) called the launch "absolutely intolerable", while US President Donald Trump said the US "stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 per cent".
Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe (left) called the launch "absolutely intolerable", while US President Donald Trump said the US "stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 per cent". PHOTO: NYTIMES

PYONGYANG • North Korea has fired its first missile since the election of Mr Donald Trump as US President in November last year.

The launch yesterday is seen as a protest by Pyongyang against the affirmation of US-Japan security ties by Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe, who is on a US visit, and Mr Trump. The missile, believed to be a mid-range Rodong or something similar, flew 500km and landed in the East Sea yesterday, drawing global condemnation.

Mr Abe called the launch "absolutely intolerable", while Mr Trump said the US "stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 per cent".

Pyongyang had ramped up its nuclear programme last year, firing a flurry of 24 missiles and conducting two nuclear tests. But it has stayed quiet in the last few months to observe what policy Mr Trump would pursue on the Korean peninsula, analysts noted.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2017, with the headline 'US backs Japan '100 per cent' after N. Korea missile launch'. Print Edition | Subscribe