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08 April 2017, 07:33 | Clarence Schmidt
The launch came just a day before the start of a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, where talks about adding pressure on the North to drop its arms development will take centre stage.
Abe said he told Trump that Japan is paying attention to how China handles the issue of North Korea, which is continuing to pursue nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Sporting links "have eased anxieties during times of escalating tensions" said Michael Spavor, director of Paektu Culture Exchange, which facilitates exchanges in multiple fields with the North.
When South Korea's (now ousted) president Park Geun-hye took office in 2013, her northern counterpart greeted her with underground nuclear tests.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Defense sources reportedly said they expect the new missile to send a "strong warning message to North Korea", which has continued its provocations despite numerous worldwide restrictions prohibiting the regime from testing ballistic missiles. There was a low rumble of discontent any time a South Korean player touched the ball.
However, a senior US defense official told reporters Wednesday that the missile may have been an older liquid-fueled, extended-range scud missile fired from a fixed location.
"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".
North Korea has been accused of violating the UN Security Council resolutions and of creating a "grave threat to global peace and security in the region and beyond".
Any launch of objects using the ballistic missile technology is a violation of Security Council resolutions, but the North has defied the ban as an infringement on its sovereign rights to self-defense and pursuit of space exploration. On Wednesday, North Korea launched a ballistic missile and reportedly held a sixth nuclear test. While submarines are a stealthy way to do that, North Korea doesn't have enough of them.
U.S. officials are hoping the Chinese leaders will convince their ally - through sanctions or diplomacy - to back off.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Monday that "the United States has seen China for 25 plus years say that they're concerned about North Korea, but we haven't seen them act like they're concerned about North Korea".
Satellite images of the country indicate North Korea is preparing for a large-scale parade at Mirim Airport in Pyongyang, the report stated. Earlier in March, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), with three of them landing in waters that Japan claims as its exclusive economic zone.
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