The missile landed in the sea off the Korean Peninsula
Trump and Xi are due to meet at Mar-a-Lago in Florida this Thursday and Friday
Ahead of the first meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korea fired a ballistic missile off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, US and South Korean officials said.
The missile – which fell into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, on Wednesday morning – is one of several the country has test-fired in recent months.
Even before the missile test, North Korea’s nuclear program was expected to be an important talking point between Xi and Trump.
The United States has been pushing China to put pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclear program and missile testing, but Trump said on Sunday the United States would be prepared to act alone to stop North Korea.
In his first five years as North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un has overseen more than double the number of missile tests than his father did during his 17-year rule, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
A senior White House official on Tuesday said: “The clock has now run out, and all options are on the table,” pointing to the failure of successive administrations’ efforts to negotiate an end to the country’s nuclear program.
The test elicited a terse response from the US State Department, unlike the standard diplomatic condemnations that usually follow Pyongyang’s missile tests.
“North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in the statement.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said her country opposed any violations to UN Security Council resolutions, and urged the relevant parties to exercise restraint.
The test comes as South Korea, Japan and the US wrap up trilateral naval military drills off the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry spokesman, Lee Duk-Haeng, said the launch was a “threat against peace and stability.” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the launch and convened a meeting of the National Security Council.
The primary concern surrounding North Korea’s weapons program is that Pyongyang could eventually equip long-range missiles with a nuclear warhead.
North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests – including two last year – but experts said the country still hasn’t developed nucle