North Korea test-fires ballistic missile in defiance of world pressure

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday urged the global community to increase pressure on North Korea, saying that failing to do so would bring "catastrophic consequences".

It would mark the USS Carl Vinson's second operation in South Korean waters in less than two months amid heightened military tensions in Korea.

US and South Korean officials said the launch apparently failed.

North Korea has been ramping up its missile tests recently.

Such routine condemnation and a series of sanctions resolutions since 2006, when North Korea conducted its first nuclear test, have done little to impede its push for ballistic missiles and nuclear arms.

"North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today".

Yonhap news agency reported that the North Korean military had carried out a test-firing of a ballistic missile early on Saturday morning.

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Tillerson said the USA does not seek regime change in North Korea, and he signaled American openness to holding direct negotiations with Pyongyang.

Stepping back from suggestions of US military action, he even offered aid to North Korea if it ends its nuclear weapons program.

Japan condemned the launch as absolutely unacceptable and a violation of United Nations resolutions. Chris Coons slammed President Donald Trump's tweet Saturday about North Korea's latest missile test, saying Twitter is no place to conduct diplomacy.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told the 15-member council it was not only up to China to solve the North Korean problem.

Donald Trump has warned that the USA could "absolutely" go to war with the power amid fears the regime is on the verge of developing long-range ballistic missiles that could hit the States.

The US is deploying a naval strike group led by an aircraft carrier to the Korean peninsula, and a missile-defence system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) that officials say will be operational "within days".

Wang put forward a familiar Chinese idea to ease tensions: North Korea suspending its nuclear and missile activities if the US and South Korea stop military exercises in the region.

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In an interview with CBS' "Face the Nation", Trump says he won't be happy if North Korea conducts a nuclear test and that he believes Chinese President Xi Jinping won't be happy, either.

China's foreign ministry on Friday refused to confirm or deny Tillerson's assertion "that if they did conduct further nuclear tests, China would be taking sanctions actions on their own". The latest test came as US officials pivoted from a hard line to diplomacy at the an effort to address what may be Washington's most pressing foreign policy challenge.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters Thursday, "the world can not ignore" the emerging threat of the North's intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear capability.

"It's illegal, it should not be done, it's another provocative action by North Korea".

The timing of the North's test was striking: Only hours earlier the U.N. Security Council held a ministerial meeting on Pyongyang's escalating weapons program.

'We urge other partners with direct influence on North Korea to use their leverage to the full with the aim of easing tensions and ensuring compliance with the express will of the UN.

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