Donald Trump has issued his first statement in response to an unprecedented North Korea missile test over one of Japan’s main islands, warning it that “all options are on the table” for a US response.
“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear. This regime has signalled its contempt for its neighbours, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behaviour,” Mr Trump said, in a statement issued by the White House.
“Threatening and destabilising actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world.”
North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan’s northern Hokkaido region on Tuesday, prompting air-raid sirens and mobile phone alerts for citizens.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, called it an “unprecedented, serious and grave threat” to the region.
Han Tae-song, the North’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, warned the US of “catastrophic consequences” should it continue a war of words that has simmered in recent months.
Washington was driving the Korean peninsula “towards an extreme level of explosion” by deploying its strategic assets there, he claimed.
The US has been holding joint war games with South Korea, which also tested its own missiles last week. Hours after Pyongyang’s launch, its 13th so far this year, the South Korean military carried out a test bombing at a firing range near its border with North Korea.
Mr Trump has previously warned North Korea it faces “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continues to menace the US and allied countries. The American military is “locked and loaded,” he said earlier this month.
He and Kim Jong-un have slung fierce rhetoric back and forth for several months, with Mr Kim recently threatening a strike on the US Pacific territory of Guam. The island is home to 160,000 people and a substantial military base.