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May 28, 2017

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North Korea reportedly test fires missile, challenging US

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea reportedly fired a ballistic missile early Sunday in what would be its first such test of the year and an implicit challenge to President Donald Trump, who stood with the Japanese leader as Shinzo Abe called the move "absolutely intolerable."

There was no immediate confirmation from the North, which had recently warned it is ready to test its first intercontinental ballistic missile. The U.S. Strategic Command said it detected and tracked what it assessed to be a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile.

North Korean media are often slow to announce such launches, if they announce them at all. As of Sunday afternoon, there had been no official announcement and most North Koreans went about their day with no inkling that the launch was major international news.

The reports came as Trump was hosting Abe and just days before the North is to mark the birthday of leader Kim Jong Un's late father, Kim Jong Il.

Appearing with Trump at a news conference at the president's south Florida estate, Abe condemned the missile launch as "absolutely intolerable." Trump followed Abe with even fewer words, saying in part: "I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent."

Abe read a brief statement in which he called on the North to comply fully with relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. He said Trump has assured him of U.S. support and that Trump's presence showed the president's determination and commitment.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement the missile 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.

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