SEOUL North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Saturday shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that failure to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to “catastrophic consequences”.
U.S. and South Korean officials said the test, from an area north of the North Korean capital, appeared to have failed, in what would be the North’s fourth straight unsuccessful missile test since March.
The test came as the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group arrived in waters near the Korean peninsula, where it will join the USS Michigan, a guided missile submarine that docked in South Korea on Tuesday.
Tillerson, in a U.N. Security Council meeting on North Korea on Friday, repeated the Trump administration’s position that all options were on the table if Pyongyang persisted with its nuclear and missile development.
“The threat of a nuclear attack on Seoul, or Tokyo, is real, and it’s only a matter of time before North Korea develops the capability to strike the U.S. mainland,” Tillerson said.
“Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences.”
U.S. President Donald Trump, who told Reuters in an interview on Thursday North Korea was his biggest global challenge, said the launch was an affront to China, the North’s sole main ally.
“North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!,” Trump said in a post on Twitter after the launch.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the U.N. meeting it was not only up to China to solve the North Korean problem.
“The key to solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula does not lie in the hands of the Chinese side,” Wang said.
In a commentary on Saturday, China’s official Xinhua news agency said both North Korea and the United States needed to tread cautiously.
“If both sides fail to make…