WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump warned of a possible U.S. military response with a statement that said “all options are on the table” after North Korea on Tuesday launched a ballistic missile over close U.S. ally Japan into the sea.
The provocative firing of the long-range missile came after North Korea launched three short-range missiles Saturday while U.S. and South Korean forces conduct annual military exercises on the Korean Peninsula, which anger North Korea.
“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable behavior,” Trump said in a terse written statement.
“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world,” he said. “All options are on the table.”
Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and both said they agreed that North Korea “poses a grave and growing direct threat” to the United States, Japan and South Korea, the White House said.
Abe said, “This outrageous action of firing a missile over our country is an unprecedented, grave and serious threat that seriously damages peace and security in the region.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the governments of Britain, France, Germany and Russia also condemned the launch.
After meeting Tuesday, the 15-member UN Security Council condemned North Korea’s missile shot over Japan, calling it an “outrageous” threat, and said it was of “vital importance” that North Korea not launch more missiles to take steps to reduce tensions.
But the council’s statement does not threaten new sanctions.
Before the meeting, Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN, said the North Korean missile was unacceptable and that “enough is enough”
Haley told reporters, “They have violated every single UN Security Council resolution that we’ve had, and so I think something serious has to happen. What we hope is that China and Russia continue to work with us like they have in the past on North Korea.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, meanwhile, called for more ballistic missile tests targeting the Pacific Ocean.
Kim expressed “great satisfaction” over the launch over Japan which he called a “meaningful prelude” to containing Guam, which is home to key U.S. military bases that North Korea finds threatening, according to Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency.
He also said the country will continue to watch “U.S. demeanors” before it decides on future actions.
The missile traveled 2,700 kilometers (1,677 miles) and reached a maximum height of 341 miles as it hurtled over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido and into the sea, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Japan said the missile caused no damage but unnerved residents of Hokkaido, alerted with loud alarms, speakers blaring “missile is passing” and messages sent to their cellphone and email accounts that told them to stay indoors.
It was the first ballistic missile that North Korea has fired over Japan — it launched rockets carrying satellites over Japan in 1998 and 2009 — and the 13th missile it has launched this year, a faster pace than usual, according to South Korea.
The long-range launch showed that North Korea can back up its threat to target the U.S. territory of Guam and its military bases. It also shows that North Korea continues to test and get close to its goal of developing nuclear weapons that could reach the United States.
North Korea’s missile launches ended a few weeks in which it conducted no tests, and rebuffed Trump’s claim last week that the inactivity showed that his tough approach, and threat of “fire and fury,” meant that Kim “is starting to respect us.”
Earlier this month, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted its toughest sanctions yet on North Korea after it tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles that put the U.S. mainland in range.
The United States and its partners have been urging China, the North’s traditional ally and main trading partner, to help in intensifying the pressure.