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Trump and Abe address reports of North Korea’s ‘absolutely intolerable’ missile launch

donald trump shinzo abe

NBC News

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered an abrupt joint statement Saturday night, addressing reports that North Korea test fired a ballistic missile into its eastern sea.

I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100%,” Trump said.

In his remarks, Abe called the launch “absolutely intolerable.”

Trump and Abe made their remarks from Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and did not take questions from reporters.

The launch was North Korea’s first such test of the year and an implicit challenge to President Donald Trump’s new administration. But details of the launch, including the type of missile, were scant.

There was no immediate confirmation from the North, which had recently warned it is ready to test its first intercontinental ballistic missile. The reports come as Trump was hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and just days before the North is to mark the birthday of leader Kim Jong Un’s late father, Kim Jong Il.

Trump ignored a shouted question about the developing situation as he, Abe and their wives posed for photos before heading to dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. In Washington, public affairs officers for the Defense Department and the State Department had no immediate comment on the report.

The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement the projectile was fired from around Banghyon, North Pyongan Province, which is where South Korean officials have said the North test launched its powerful midrange Musudan missile on Oct. 15 and 20.

The South’s Yonhap news agency quoted an anonymous military source saying the missile flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles). But Yonhap reported that while determinations are still being made, it was not believed to be an ICBM.

The missile is believed to have splashed down into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters the missile did not hit Japanese territorial seas. The North conducted two nuclear tests and a slew of rocket launches last year in continued efforts to expand its nuclear weapons and missile programs. Kim Jong Un said in his New Year’s address that the country has reached the final stages of readiness to test an ICBM, which would be a major step forward in its efforts to build a credible nuclear threat to the United States.

Though Pyongyang has been relatively quiet about the transfer of power to the Trump administration, its state media has repeatedly called for Washington to abandon its “hostile policy” and vowed to continue its nuclear and missile development programs until the U.S. changes its diplomatic approach.

Just days ago, it also reaffirmed its plan to conduct more space launches, which it staunchly defends but which have been criticized because they involve duel use technology that can be transferred to improve missiles.

Kim Dong-yeop, an analyst at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, speculated the projectile could be a Musudan or a similar rocket designed to test engines for an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the U.S. mainland. Analysts are divided, however, over how close the North is to having a reliable long-range rocket that could be coupled with a nuclear warhead capable to striking U.S. targets.

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Associated Press writer Kim Tong-Hyung in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.


  • Danuta Ewiak

    For now we can sleep in peace. The nuclear war is inevitable, like death, but not yet. When will this happen? Let me remind here a fragment of an ancient vision: “And [the king of the north] will go back (to) his land with great wealth [1945. This detail indicated that Hitler will attack also the Soviet Union and will fight to the bitter end. In the beginning there were no signs of such the ending of this war]; and his heart (will be) against the holy covenant [Soviet Union introduced state atheism]; and will act [it means activity in the international arena]; and turned back to his own land [1991-1993. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Russian troops returned to their country]. At the appointed time [he] will return back.” (Daniel 11:28, 29a) The return of Russia in this context means crisis, which will eclipse the Great Depression. Not only the eurozone will break up, but also the European Union and NATO. Then many countries of the former Eastern block will return to Russia’s zone of influence. Russian troops will be stationed here again.

    “And [the king of the north] will enter into the south [this can be Georgia], but it will not be as the former [2008 - Georgia] or as the latter [Ukraine], for the dwellers of coastlands of Kittim [USA, in the beginning without Britain] will come against him, and he will be dejected, and will go back.” (Daniel 11:29b, 30a)

    What will induce the “king of the north” to enter into the south? Jesus said: “For nation will rise against nation”, as in 2008, and then …

    Moses writes: “But ships from the direction of Kittim [US Navy], and will afflict Asshur [Russia] and will afflict Eber [remaining enemies, including Iran and China].” (Numbers 24:24a) It will be suicidal mission. This armada will not return home. (Numbers 24:24b)

    This will be a nuclear war. (Revelation 6:4) “A great sword” in this context means a nuclear sword. However, it will be neither “the end of the world” (Armageddon). As Jesus foretold, it will be “the beginning of birth pains”. (Matthew 24:7, 8)

    In 1882 British troops occupied Egypt. Great Britain then took the role of “the king of the south”. Around the same time, Russia expanded its influence in the region, which previously belonged to Seleucus I Nicator, and took the role of “the king of the north”. (Daniel 11:27) All the details of this vision are being fulfilled from the time of ancient Persia, in chronological order.