US President Donald Trump today spoke over phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and reaffirmed their commitment to combat the North Korean threat after a ballistic missile fired by the reclusive nation apparently landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Barely a week after the US slapped fresh sanctions on North Korea and declared it a state sponsor of terrorism, Pyongyang launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which travelled about 1000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan.
"Trump spoke today with Prime Minister Abe of Japan to address North Korea's launch of an ICBM that impacted within Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone," the White House said.
"The two leaders agreed that the North Korean regime's provocative actions are undermining its security and further isolating it from the international community," it said in a readout of the call.
Trump and Abe reaffirmed their commitment to combat the North Korean threat, the White House said.
Meanwhile, top American lawmakers condemned the North Korean missile test.
"North Korea's ICBM test today is another indication that despite attempts to increase international pressure on Pyongyang, the Kim Jong-Un regime is determined to continue its dangerous pursuit of a robust nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles testing program," said Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"...What is therefore required is an all-out diplomatic surge, led by the Trump administration, in collaboration with China and our Japanese and South Korean allies, where Pyongyang verifiably halts its nuclear and ballistic missile testing and we initiate negotiations toward denuclearization," he said.
Senator Jim Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called for increased and targeted investment in missile defence capabilities after North Korea's latest missile test.
"North Korea has been clear--they will not stop their aggressive behaviour towards the United States and our allies until they have achieved a missile capable of reaching the United States with a nuclear warhead," he said.
"While we must continue to pursue economic and diplomatic efforts with our strategic partners in the region, it is vital for the safety of American families to strengthen and grow our missile defence capabilities in the boost, mid-course, and terminal phases. We cannot afford to wait any longer," Inhofe said.
North Korea's dangerous actions must be met with a clear, comprehensive strategy from the United States, said Senator Joe Donnelly.
"We must show the American people, our service members in the region, and our allies around the world that we are serious about confronting the threat from the Kim regime," he said, pitching for an amendment in the defence bill.
"My amendment, included in the national defence bill, requires the administration to bring its strategy to Congress within 90 days. I encourage President Trump to sign the bill immediately," Donnelly said.