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North Korea threat: Mattis says war with isolated nation would be 'catastrophic'

North Korea threat: Mattis says war with isolated nation would be 'catastrophic'

Abe said Japan will "take concrete steps with the order to deter North Korea", although he did not elaborate on specific actions.

Pacific Command said late Sunday it detected the launch of a short-range North Korean ballistic missile from a site near Wonsan Airfield.

North Korea test fired a short-range ballistic missile early this morning that landed in the sea off its east coast.

During the Taormina summit, leaders of the G-7 nations shared the recognition that North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions are "a top priority in the global agenda" and Pyongyang "poses new levels of threat", as they wrote in the statement of the summit. Scuds are capable of striking USA troops in South Korea, for instance, and the two newly developed missiles tested earlier this month have potential ranges that include Japan, Guam and even, according to some South Korean analysts, Alaska. It landed in western waters that are Japan's exclusive maritime economic zone, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

North Korea is still thought to be several years from its goal of being able to target USA mainland cities with nuclear ICBMs.

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It was the North's third ballistic missile test in as many weeks and the 12th this year - carried out in defiance of United Nations sanctions warnings and USA threats of possible military action.

There was no immediate comment from North Korea's state controlled media. But a day earlier, the North said leader Kim Jong Un had watched a successful test of a new type of anti-aircraft guided weapon system.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the test showed the missile is ready for deployment and mass production, according to the state news agency KCNA.

U.S. President Donald Trump has alternated in his public statements between bellicosity and flattery.

This launch is North Korea's third in three weeks and its 12th this year, underscoring Kim Jong Un's determination to advance his regime's technical capabilities and his continued defiance of the worldwide community.

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe swiftly condemned the test - the second time this year that a North Korean missile has fallen close to its shores - vowing concerted action with the US.

Suga said Japanese officials will discuss North Korea with a senior foreign policy adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Yang Jiechi, who was scheduled to visit Japan later Monday.

China holds the key to changing North Korea's stance, as it accounts for about 90 percent of Pyongyang's total trade and has influence on the nation.

Monday's missile launch was North Korea's third in just over three weeks.

"They have been very clear in their rhetoric we don't have to wait until they have an intercont- intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear weapon on it to say that now it's manifested completely", Mattis said.

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