Trump says US behind Japan '100%' after North Korea missile launch

Trump says US behind Japan '100%' after North Korea missile launch
PHOTO: AFP

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA/SEOUL - US President Donald Trump said that the United States stands fully behind Japan in the aftermath of North Korea's latest missile launch on Sunday (Feb 12).

"I just want everybody to understand, and fully know, that the United States of America is behind Japan, our great ally, 100 per cent," Trump told reporters during a joint statement with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump made no further comments.

Abe, on his part, said the launch was absolutely unacceptable.

The US military tracked the North Korean test launch and determined it was a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Pentagon said.

"US Strategic Command systems detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 4:55pm CST," it said.

"The launch of a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile occurred near the northwestern city of Kusong." It added: "The missile was tracked over North Korea and into the Sea of Japan."

The launch never posed a threat to North America, it said, but did not state whether it believed the launch had been a success or failure.

The Pentagon said its forces would "remain vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and are fully committed to working closely with our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies to maintain security."

In Seoul, a South Korean military source told Reuters the ballistic missile reached an altitude of about 550km and appeared to have been of the Rodong medium-range class or another, new type.

The missile flew about 500km and into the sea east of the Korean peninsula, the source said.

South Korea's presidential Blue House said the country and the United States agreed to explore all possible options to rein in North Korean provocations during a phone call between US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan Jin.

Flynn had requested the call with Kim after North Korea's missile launch early on Sunday, the Blue House said in a statement.

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