News World North Korea launches ballistic missile amid grave warning from China

North Korea launches ballistic missile amid grave warning from China

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North Korea has threatened to strike Guam 'at any moment'. Photo: AAP
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North Korea has launched yet another ballistic missile after China’s UN ambassador warned of “disastrous” consequences if world powers fail to find a way to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsular.

North Korea launched a ballistic missile from its western region into the sea off its east coast, South Korea’s military said Tuesday.

The missile is thought to have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Japan’s NHK public television said, quoting the defence ministry.

The launch comes just after US President Donald J. Trump spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping about the issue Monday.

The launch is the latest an increasingly frequent missile testing program, which the North says is rapidly approaching its aim of producing a missile capable of taking its nuclear capabilities to US territory.

China’s UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, earlier told a news conference at UN headquarters that tensions between North Korea and the West are high “and we would certainly like to see a de-escalation”.

“If tension only goes up … then sooner or later it will get out of control and the consequences would be disastrous,” Mr Liu said.

China is pushing for talks on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program, but a proposal from Beijing to freeze Pyongyang’s military expansion in exchange for a suspension of US-South Korea military exercises has failed to gain support.

The US maintains it will open up talks with North Korea if it first halts its nuclear and missile tests.

Describing the crisis with North Korea as “very, very serious”, Mr Liu said “other parties” should be “more forthcoming in accepting and supporting these proposals”.

“We cannot afford to wait for too long without dialogue taking place,” he added.

The Trump administration has been urging China to rein in Pyongyang for several months, but President Trump declared last month that Beijing’s efforts had failed.

During a phone call Monday (AEST), President Trump “raised the growing threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs”, the White House said.

“Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a de-nuclearised Korean Peninsula,” the White House said.

North Korea’s decision to launch its latest missile test will cause increasing frustration for both China and the US.

– With agencies