by WorldTribune Staff, March 7, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump called the leaders of South Korea and Japan on March 7 to discuss North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch and suggest urgent high-level discussions in response to Pyongyang’s provocations.
The South Korean prime minister’s office said acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn and Trump spoke for about 20 minutes at the request of the White House.
Hwang called for boosting the allied forces’ defense capabilities and sanction measures to change North Korea’s strategic calculations. Trump suggested that Seoul and Washington hold high-level in-depth discussions on North Korea issues.
Trump also spoke on the phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reiterate that the U.S. was with Japan “100 percent.”
Abe told reporters that he and Trump agreed that the missile launches were a clear violation of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and a challenge against regional and international security.
Abe said Seoul, Washington and Tokyo will join forces in responding to the provocations.
Meanwhile, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan have requested the UNSC to hold an urgent meeting to coordinate an international response to the North’s missile launches. A meeting could be convened on March 8, KBS World News Radio reported.
North Korea’s latest missile launches could have involved more missiles than the four first reported, but the Pyongyang did not attempt to carry out a threatened test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Pentagon said March 6.
“There were four that landed. There may be a higher number of launches that we’re not commenting on. But four landed and splashed” in the Sea of Japan, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters without elaborating, according to Reuters.
Davis said the four missiles were all medium-range and the launches were similar in range and path to the North’s missile launches in September. The North fired one Nodong medium-range missile on Sept. 1 and three more on Sept. 5, with all of them flying some 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) before falling in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).