North Korea appeared to fire a ballistic missile Sunday in an implicit challenge to President Trump, who stood with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe as the latter called the move "intolerable." There was no immediate confirmation from the North, which had recently warned it was ready to test its first intercontinental ballistic missile, reports the AP. US Strategic Command said it detected and tracked what it assessed to be a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile. The launch came as Trump was hosting Abe and just days before the North is to mark the birthday of Kim Jong Il. Appearing with Trump 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 UN Security Council resolutions. He said Trump had assured him of US support and that Trump's presence showed the president's determination and commitment. The military in Seoul said that the missile flew about 310 miles. But South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that it was not believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile. The missile splashed down into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, per US Strategic Command. Japan said the missile did not hit Japanese territorial seas. Though Pyongyang has been relatively quiet about the transfer of power to the Trump administration, its state media has repeatedly called for Washington to abandon its "hostile policy" and vowed to continue its nuclear and missile programs until the US changes its diplomatic approach.