White House calls North Korean ballistic missile test a 'provocation'

In their first test since President Trump was elected, North Korea launched a ballistic missile into the ocean early Sunday morning.

Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters
Passengers at a railway station in Seoul on Sunday watch a TV screen broadcasting a news report on North Korea firing a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast.

According to South Korean defense officials and United States Strategic Command, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile Sunday morning. The missile was likely an intermediate-range Musudan-class missile, not an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which North Korea has said they could test any day.

In what is the first test of the kind such the beginning of Trump’s presidency, the missile traveled eastward to about 300 miles from the North Korean coast before landing in the Sea of Japan, testing President Trump’s resolve in following his campaign rhetoric of toughening policies on North Korea.

A US official told Reuters that the administration had been expecting a “provocation” of this sort from North Korea since assuming office. "This was no surprise," the official said. "The North Korean leader likes to draw attention at times like this.”

South Korea immediately condemned the launch, saying it directly opposed resolutions set by the United Nations Security Council that prohibit North Korea from developing or testing ballistic and nuclear weapons.

According to The New York Times, the South Korean military issued a statement saying, “We see this as part of an attempt by the North to grab attention by demonstrating its nuclear and missile capabilities and to counter the new United States administration’s strong policy line against North Korea.”

Coming just as President Trump was hosting the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., the two leaders quickly called a joint news conference where Mr. Abe declared that “North Korea's most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable. North Korea must fully comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” quoted CNN from the resort.

Following Abe’s statement, President Trump affirmed his support. “I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent.”

Last year saw an unprecedented 24 missile tests and a satellite launch from North Korea, demonstrating the how the country’s weapons technology was advancing towards the development of ICBMs. In fact, North Korea claimed in January that they have the capability to launch an ICBM at any time from any location – a threat whose truth remains unverified.

Such tests stand in direct opposition to tightened sanctions on the North Korean weapons program issued by the United Nations Security Council, leading to questions about the effectiveness of such sanctions. According to The New York Times, diplomats believe that the more recent sanctions could undermine the Asian nation’s ability to fundraise and develop technology necessary to develop nuclear capabilities.

Yet the latest launch raises questions about President Trump’s intention to toughen US policy on North Korea, something he repeatedly spoke of during his campaign. Even just two days before President Trump referred to North Korea’s nuclear program as a “very very high priority” in a phone call to Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to Reuters.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to White House calls North Korean ballistic missile test a 'provocation'
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today