SEOUL: North Korea test-launched on Sunday a ballistic missile which drew the unanimous condemnation of regional neighbours and western countries alike.
The missile was fired from the Banghyon airbase in the western province of North Pyongan, and flew east towards the Sea of Japan, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.
This is the first missile test conducted by the North Koren regime since the Trump administration took the reins of the US government.
The test drew a strong response from the US President Donald Trump as well as the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who condemned the act.
The ministry’s statement added that the missile flew 500 kilometres before falling into the sea, however, the exact type of missile is yet to be identified.
Today's missile launch is aimed at drawing global attention to the North by boasting its nuclear and missile capabilities, the statement added.
Trump: Washington '100%' behind Tokyo after North Korea missile launch
It is also believed that it was an armed provocation to test the response from the new US administration under President Trump, the statement further added.
Trump responded with an assurance to the visiting Abe that Washington was committed to the security of its key Asian ally.
"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.
Abe denounced the launch as ‘absolutely intolerable’ while top government spokesman Yoshihide Suge told reporters in Tokyo it was clearly a provocation to Japan and the region.
North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic missile technology, however, six sets of UN sanctions since Pyongyang's first nuclear test in 2006 have failed to halt its drive for what it insists are defensive weapons.
Furthermore, last year the country conducted numerous tests and launches in its quest to develop a nuclear weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland.