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North Korea missile test 'absolutely intolerable'

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast. It is the first such launch since Donald Trump became US president.

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North Korea missile test 'absolutely intolerable'

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North Korea has fired a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast. It is the first such launch since Donald Trump took the keys to the White House.

Point of view

North Korea's most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

According to US defence officials, it was a medium or intermediate range missile – not an intercontinental ballistic one, which Pyongyang has said it could test at any time.

The device reportedly flew around 500 kilometres.

South Korea was quick to condemn the launch.

“North Korea’s repeated provocations clearly show the nature of Kim Jong Un’s regime, irrationality and maniacally obsessed in its nuclear and ballistic missile development,” said Cho June-Hyuck, a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

The test came a day after Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and took a hardline against North Korea.

“North Korea’s most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable, North Korea must fully comply with the UN Security Council resolutions,” said Abe.

“I just want everybody to understand, and fully know, that the United States of America is behind Japan, our great ally, 100 percent,” Trump told reporters in Palm Beach, Florida, speaking alongside Abe.

One US official has said the test came as “no surprise”. Washington is now considering how it will respond, while wanting to avoiding escalation.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests last year, along with numerous missile-related ones.