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World War 3 ‘threat is real’ warning after North Korea’s missile scare infuriated China

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North Korea’s missile testing in recent years has resulted in growing tensions in Asia while also increasing hostility with the US. Kim Jong-un’s country completed a staggering 10 missile tests in 2019, despite US President Donald Trump’s best efforts to quell Kim’s nuclear programme. While North Korea’s hostility has angered other countries, Kim has found rare friendship from China president Xi Jinping. But a missile test left Beijing feeling “disrespected” according to Donald Trump, who headed vocal international outrage at the time.

Pyongyang test-fired a ballistic missile near Bukchang in South Pyongan Province, South Korean military claimed.

A US government source said initial indications suggested the test was unsuccessful.

The US military’s Pacific Command said the missile did not leave North Korean territory.

The unsuccessful test took place in April 2017, leading to a furious rant from the US President.

Mr Trump said via Twitter: “North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!”

Japan joined in criticism of the test launch, saying it was unacceptable and a violation of a UN resolution.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said: “Despite strong warnings by the international community, North Korea today went through its ballistic missile launch. It is a grave threat to our country. This is absolutely not acceptable. We strongly condemn such acts.

“We’d like to maintain a close coordination with the United States, our ally, to maintain a high state of alert. We’d like to be water-tight to ensure safety for our citizens.”

A US official said the missile launch was the kind of “provocation” that had been anticipated – it came amid high tensions on the Korean Peninsula as South Korea prepared for an election.

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The then US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, warned that failure to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile abilities could lead to “catastrophic consequences”, while China and Russia attempted to prevent Washingtom from making further threats to North Korea.

Mr Tillerson said: “Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences.

“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 US mainland.”

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