President Donald Trump has assured Japan it has the full support of the United States following a North Korean ballistic missile launch.
“I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent,” Trump said in a very short statement during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He did not elaborate.
The Japanese leader denounced the launch, which came in defiance of UN resolutions, as “absolutely intolerable.”
“North Korea must fully comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” Abe said.
The two leaders were speaking after spending the day together at Trump’s luxurious Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, playing golf and dining with their wives.
On Friday, the pair met at the White House and reaffirmed the strength of US-Japan ties.
The North Korean missile launch, the first since Trump became president, took place at 7:55 am Sunday (22:55 GMT Saturday) from Banghyon air base in the western province of North Pyongan and flew east towards the Sea of Japan, South Korea’s defense ministry said.
“The concrete type of the ballistic missile has yet to be identified”, a defense ministry spokesman told AFP.
Five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches since 2006 have resulted in Pyongyang being slapped with crippling international sanctions, which were further tightened in March and December.
But the measures have not deterred North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un from pursuing his nuclear ambitions.