North Korea test-fires missile into sea ahead of Trump-Xi summit

North Korea this week fired a projectile which flew about 60 kilometers (37 miles) into the East Sea, South Korea's military leadership said.

Though the White House has previously made similar statements, the call came hours before Trump hosts Chinese President Xi for a two-day summit at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. North Korea attempted to fire an unidentified ballistic missile towards the end of March; however, the missile exploded seconds after launch. Most of North Korea's missiles use liquid propellant, which usually must be added on the launch pad before the weapon is fired.

Pyongyang is on a quest to develop a long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the U.S. mainland, and has staged five nuclear tests so far, two of them a year ago.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry called the North's latest missile launch a "reckless provocation" that posed a threat to worldwide peace, while Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said his country lodged a strong protest over the launch.

Unlike South Korea, the North operates under heavy global sanctions as the UN Security Council has been working for years to stop Pyongyang's development of weapons of mass destruction.

South Korea, on the other hand, apparently has no trouble launching its missiles. "We have no further comment", he said in a statement.

"The launch took place possibly in consideration of the US -China summit, while at the same time it was to check its missile capability", a South Korean official told Reuters about the military's initial assessment of the launch.

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned North Korea for its ballistic missile test this week.

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North Korea often responds to the drills with its own military training and harsh rhetoric.

The missile which fell into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, on Wednesday morning and is one of several they have test-fired in recent months.

"There was a test firing of a Hyunmoo-type ballistic missile with a range of 800 km at the Anheung test site of the Agency for Defence Development", an informed source said.

The missile could cover a full range of targets in North Korea if deployed from the southeastern city of Pohang.

Photos taken by the club's patrons and later posted on Facebook captured Japanese and USA officials responding in real-time to the incident, sparking criticism about why such important meetings were not conducted in a more secure location.

Trump wants China to do more to exert its economic influence over unpredictable Pyongyang to restrain its nuclear and missile programs, while Beijing has said it does not have that kind of influence. "The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America".

"We would have loved to see North Korea join the community of nations".

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