President Donald Trump said North Korea will get slapped with ‘major’ new sanctions after its Tuesday ballistic missile launch that could reach the continental United States.
The president spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping, after spending months working with China to try to apply additional pressure and making repeated public statements about China’s ability to bring the rogue nation to heel.
‘Just spoke to President XI JINPING of China concerning the provocative actions of North Korea,’ Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
‘Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!’ Trump said, without specifying who would be imposing the sanctions – the U.S., China, or both.
His statement came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has bragged that his country has achieved full nuclear statehood after successfully testing a new missile capable of hitting virtually anywhere in the world.
‘THIS SITUATION WILL BE HANDLED!’: President Trump vowed ‘we will take care of it’ following the launch, but gave no further details of his plan and said the test will not prompt a change of strategy in the region
According to an official White House statement about the call with President Xi, ‘President Trump underscored the determination of the United States to defend ourselves and our allies from the growing threat posed by the North Korean regime.’
‘President Trump emphasized the need for China to use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization,’ according to the statement.
North Korea ended a 10-week pause in its weapons testing on Tuesday when it fired off a Hwasong-15 rocket – its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile yet which the regime claimed could be fitted with a ‘super heavy nuclear warhead’.
‘Just spoke to President XI JINPING of China concerning the provocative actions of North Korea,’ Trump tweeted Wednesday morning
It poses a new challenge for President Donald Trump who has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the US mainland.
After watching the launch, Kim Jong-un boasted about its success, according to state television presenter Ri Chun-Hee.
‘Kim Jong-un declared with pride that now we have finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, the cause of building a rocket power,’ the presenter said.
‘The great success in the test-fire of ICBM Hwasong-15 is a priceless victory won by the great and heroic people of the DPRK,’ she added, using the abbreviated name for North Korea.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned on Tuesday that North Korea now has the ability to hit ‘everywhere in the world’ and that the latest missile test went ‘higher, frankly, than any previous shot they have taken.’
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un is pictured above signing what is said to be a document authorizing the intercontinental ballistic missile test
Pyongyang residents react at the Pyongyang Railway Station after the news of the successful launch of the new intercontinental ballistic missile
One physicist said that the missile appeared to have a realistic range of just over 8,000 miles, which means Washington D.C. is now in range of Kim’s attacks
A map showing the estimated maximum range of North Korea’s new Hwasong-15 ICBM which is capable of hitting virtually anywhere in the world with the exception of South America and parts of southern Africa
An animation of the Hwasong-15 missile path. It reached ten times the height of the International Space Station before falling back to Earth
The Pentagon said the test missile traveled about 620 miles and landed within 200 nautical miles of Japan’s coast.
In a broadcast on state TV, North Korea said the missile reached an altitude of around 2,780 miles – more than 10 times the height of the international space station – and flew 600 miles during its 53 minute flight.
North Korea deliberately fires its missile on a near-vertical trajectory to artificially limit the range.
If the Hwasong-15 had been fired on a typical trajectory, analysts believe it would have a maximum range of around 8,000 miles (13,000km) – leaving only South America and a small part of Africa beyond it’s reach.
President Trump vowed on Tuesday to ‘handle the situation’ in a brief interview with reporters, but gave no further details.
‘A missile was launched a little while ago from North Korea. I will only tell you that we will take care of it,’ Trump told reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House a few hours after the missile streaked across Korean and Japanese skies at 745 miles per hour.
Asked if Tuesday’s provocation by despot Kim Jong-un had changed his strategy in the region, he said: ‘Nothing changed. We have a very serious approach and nothing changed. We take it very seriously.’
China expressed ‘grave concern’ over the new test, with foreign ministry spokesman calling on the US to suspend military drills in the region in return for North Korea freezing its missile programme.
Washington has previously rejected that approach.
China hopes all sides will work on the ‘peaceful settlement’ of the issue as a military option is not the solution to resolve the crisis, Geng told a regular news briefing.
North Korean state television brought out Ri Chun-Hee, a senior broadcaster who only appears for significant developments, to announce the landmark missile launch
North Koreans were spotted celebrating on the street after hearing the news of the successful launch of the new intercontinental ballistic missile
People cheer as they watch the news broadcast announcing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s order to test-fire the newly developed intercontinental ballisti
President Trump said on Tuesday that an ballistic missile launch by North Korea ‘is a situation that we will handle’ before Kim Jong-un bragged that his country achieved nuclear statehood
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned on Tuesday that North Korea now has the ability to hit ‘everywhere in the world’ and that the latest missile test went ‘higher, frankly, than any previous shot they have taken’
North Korea has already carried out a record 15 missile tests this year which showed it has developed an ICBM that can likely strike most of mainland America
Beijing ‘strongly urges’ North Korea to observe UN resolutions and ‘stop actions that heighten tensions on the Korean peninsula,’ Geng said.
‘At the same time we also hope the relevant parties will act cautiously to work together for the peace and stability of this region.’
Meanwhile the Kremlin also described the launch as a ‘provocative action’ and called for calm on all sides.
North Korea’s immediate neighbors were less restrained with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling the test an intolerable and ‘violent’ act and South Korean President Moon Jae-In condemning Pyongyang’s ‘reckless’ behavior.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also condemned the launch, tweeting: ‘Another illegal missile launch from DPRK. This is not the path to security and prosperity for the North Korean people. DPRK regime must change course.’
The EU branded it a ‘further unacceptable violation’ of North Korea’s international obligations, while Britain’s ambassador to the UN called it a ‘reckless act’.
The White House said Trump was notified immediately after the missile was fired, suggesting that the news interrupted a meeting with Republican senators on Capitol Hill.
‘@POTUS was briefed, while missile was still in the air, on the situation in North Korea,’ press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a tweet.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and her counterparts from Japan and South Korea will hold an emergency Security Council meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
Trump, in the midst of tense budget negotiations with Congress, stressed the need for improved military readiness – tying Tuesday’s missile launch to his request for more defense spending.
The missile was launched eastward from Pyongsong in North Korea’s South Pyongan Province at around 3:30 a.m local time before landing in the Sea of Japan
A South Korean Navy destroyer launching a missile at South Korea’s east sea during a precision-strike missile exercise aimed to counter North Korea’s missile test
‘A lot of things have happened, even over the last two hours, with respect to the missile launch. We want our military funded, and we want it funded now,’ he said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pictured speaking to reports about the missile that landed in the Sea of Japan
It comes as Hawaii has begun renewed tests of its a Cold War-era nuclear early-warning system.
The warning tone is set to be tested on the first business day of every month starting from December.
The missile was launched eastward from Pyongsong in North Korea’s South Pyongan Province in the middle of the night local time, according to a statement issued by the South Korean Military’s joint chiefs of staff.
Pentagon Spokesman Col. Robert Manning said in a statement that the launch, at about 1.17pm, was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to the Defense Department’s initial analysis.
‘The missile was launched from Sain Ni, North Korea, and traveled about 1000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone,’ Maness said.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took to Twitter to condemn the missile launch
Trump had said earlier on Capitol Hill that he would talk ‘soon’ about the launch, which occurred while he was meeting with senators about tax-cut and budget proposals
The missile launch was dictator Kim Jong-Un’s first such provocation since September 15
TRUMP’S HANDWRITTEN NORTH KOREA NOTES:
President Donald Trump had handwritten notes in black marker and all capital letters in front of him on Tuesday when he revealed news of North Korea’s latest missile launch.
The piece of paper was spotted on the table in front of Trump as he addressed reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House a few hours after the missile streaked across Korean and Japanese skies.
‘MISSILE WAS LAUNCHED FROM NORTH KOREA – WILL TAKE CARE OF IT,’ the note read.
Not straying far from his notes, Trump then told reporters: ‘A missile was launched a little while ago from North Korea. I will only tell you that we will take care of it. It is a situation that we will handle.’
The piece of paper was spotted on the table in front of Trump as he addressed reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House a few hours after the missile launch
‘The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America, our territories or our allies,’ he added.
South Korea and the US worked together to determine the missile’s trajectory and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered an emergency cabinet meeting.
Officials in Seoul said a rocket-tracking radar was turned on at a missile base in the North of the region yesterday followed by a large amount of radio chatter, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Tokyo and Washington were also placed on alert after radio signals were picked up, with one Japanese official telling the Kyodo news agency that a test could take place ‘within the next few days.’
Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea’s unification minister, confirmed the activity at an event in Seoul as he warned that Kim might complete his nuclear program much sooner than previously thought.
Cho said there had been ‘noteworthy activity in the North recently’, but said the world would have to ‘wait and see whether it leads to an actual missile test’.
Speaking about Kim’s efforts to develop a viable long-range nuclear weapon, he added: ‘Experts think North Korea will take two to three more years but they are developing their nuclear capabilities faster than expected.
‘We cannot rule out the possibility Pyongyang may declare the completion of their nuclear program in a year.’
Trump was flanked by empty chairs on Tuesday afternoon, trolling Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, two key congressional Democrats who refused to negotiate on spending with him
Japan said the latest signals from North Korea might have come to nothing, saying they could have been from military exercises which the North routinely carries out each winter.
Cho said the frequency of North Korean activity tends to decline noticeably during the winter.
‘If it launched a provocation, North Korea has to put its military on alert, but most of its troops are needed for manual labour for preparation of winter,’ he said.
Other reasons behind the lull could be that Pyongyang simply needs more time to advance its missile program such as perfecting its re-entry technology, Cho said, or the North Korean leader could be focusing on boosting the economy.
Kim has already carried out a record 15 missile tests this year, including two which were fired over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The tests also confirmed that North Korea has developed a functioning ICBM, a key step toward creating a nuke that can strike mainland America.
News of another launch would come as a blow to North Korea’s opponents who had hoped that increased sanctions were at least slowing the country’s progress.
After a flurry of missile tests over the summer, Kim last fired a weapon on September 15, despite widely-anticipated launches in October around Labor Day in the US and the Chinese 19th Party Congress.
It comes as South Korean reunification minister Cho Myoung-gyon warned that Kim Jong Un may develop a viable long-range nuclear weapon within a year (file image)