Donald Trump has vowed to boost the US’s military capabilities to counter the threat from North Korean missiles, hours before he is due to meet the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, for talks that are expected to be dominated by Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
In a telephone call on Thursday morning, Trump told the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, that “all options are on the table” – including military action – to address provocations by North Korea.
Trump “made clear that the United States will continue to strengthen its ability to deter and defend itself and its allies with the full range of its military capabilities”, the White House said in a statement about the 35-minute call. “The president emphasised that the United States stands with its allies Japan and South Korea in the face of the serious threat that North Korea continues to pose.”
In a further sign of rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, South Korea on Thursday test-launched a ballistic missile that is capable of striking any part of North Korea.
Yonhap news agency cited a senior South Korean official as saying the missile, with a range of 800km (500 miles), would act as a “strong deterrent” against provocations from the North.
Seoul plans to deploy the new missile this year after further tests, Yonhap said. South Korea has been developing missiles with longer ranges to counter its neighbour’s missile programme under a 2012 agreement with the US.
The South’s test comes a day after North Korea fired a ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo, a move experts believe was intended to remind Trump and Xi of Pyongyang’s determination to develop a long-range missile capable of carrying a…
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