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North Korea test-fires ballistic missile in defiance of world pressure

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The latest launch, which South Korea said was a failure, came just hours after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the UN Security Council of "catastrophic consequences" if the worldwide community - most notably China - failed to pressure the North into abandoning its weapons programme.

A US Navy strike group, led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, will be in the waters around the Korean Peninsula this weekend, and one of the Navy's largest submarines has been in port in South Korea this week.

Meanwhile, the USA staged their own exercises on the tubby tyrant's border with over 5,000 American and South Korean troops taking part.

"China accounting for 90 per cent of North Korean trade; China alone has economic leverage over Pyongyang that is unique, and its role is therefore particularly important", he said. He decried the failed test while giving a nod to China, one of North Korea's only allies and a nation seen by the Trump administration as a potential U.S. ally in efforts to quash Pyongyang's nuclear program. The launch coincides with renewed diplomatic and military pressure on North Korea from the Trump administration.

The North has been conducting missile and nuclear weapons related activities at an unprecedented rate and is believed to have made some progress in developing intermediate-range and submarine-launched missiles.

The United States and China offered starkly different strategies Friday for addressing North Korea's escalating nuclear threat as President Donald Trump's top diplomat demanded full enforcement of economic sanctions on Pyongyang and urged new penalties.

Trump took to Twitter shortly after the ballistic missile blew up over land in North Korean territory.

North Korea unsuccessfully test-fired a ballistic missile on Saturday from a region north of its capital, Pyongyang.

US and South Korean officials said the test, from an area north of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, appeared to have failed, in what would be a fourth successive unsuccessful missile test since March. It said the launch was a clear violation of United Nations resolutions and warned the North not to act rashly. North Korea may already be able to strike its USA -allied neighbors with a nuclear-tipped missile, and could have the US mainland within range by the end of President Donald Trump's first term.

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South Korean and US intelligence officials are trying to determine the type of missile used by North Korea for this launch.

Seoul's presidential Blue House says White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has confirmed that the USA will not be seeking South Korean money for the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, now being installed in the country's south.

That action, he said, also undermined China's security and created mistrust.

The interview is set to air later Sunday in the U.S.

"We sternly warn that the North Korean government will continue to face a variety of strong punitive measures issued by the U.N. Security Council and others if it continues to reject denuclearization and play with fire in front of the world", the ministry said.

In calling for actions against Pyongyang, Tillerson called out Beijing, which economically props up the regime of Kim Jong-un.

Japan has lodged a "serious protest and criticism" to the North, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters after a national security council meeting. While shorter-range missiles are somewhat routine, there is strong outside worry about each longer-range North Korean ballistic test. DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

Tillerson's Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, was also at the meeting.

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