A North Korean ballistic missile test conducted on 12 February has been widely condemned by the international community.
The missile was launched at 0755 h local time (2255 h GMT 11 February) from a location 9 km north of Panghyon in North Pyongan province on the west side of the Korean peninsula and flew east for about 500 km into the Sea of Japan. South Korean military officials said it reached an altitude of about 550 km.
The missile was described by North Korean state news agency KCNA as a "surface-to-surface medium- to long-range ballistic missile" called the Pukkuksong-2 that was a "new type strategic weapon system" featuring a solid-fuel engine.
The timing of the launch may well have been specifically intended to occur during a visit to the United States by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was meeting with US president Donald Trump in Florida. While Abe condemned the test as "absolutely intolerable", the US president responded by stating that "America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100%". The launch was the first North Korean ballistic missile test to have occurred during the Trump presidency.
Meanwhile, NATO and the European Union were swift to condemn the launch, saying it undermines the international security.
"These consistent provocations and violations of binding UN Security Council resolutions undermine regional and international security," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said immediately after the event, adding, "I call on [North Korea] not to raise tensions further and to re-engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community."
The European Union said North Korea "must abandon once and for all its ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner".
This article, first published on 13 February 2017, is subject to a correction and has been amended.
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