According to South Korea, the Scud-class ballistic missile was launched from Wonsan and flew for about six minutes, traveling about 450 km. It landed in Japanese waters, 500 km from Sado Island in Niigata prefecture. Tokyo has lodged a protest against the test missile.
According to Japan's Kyodo news agency, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a phone conversation after the launch in which they agreed to increase pressure on Pyongyang and to call on China to play a more active role in settling issues related to tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Professor Georgii Toloraya, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Center for Russian Strategy in Asia, told Radio Sputnik that the US is set to continue putting pressure on North Korea, despite the lack of success this strategy has had so far.
"There are public announcements saying that if more pressure is put on [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un, he is going to reflect and say that he won't build a nuclear bomb. Of course, this is children's talk. Previously, there was the implicit idea that choking North Korea would lead to the collapse of the regime, popular riots, etc. But now that doesn't seem to be the real task. Just by inertia, there is a build-up of pressure to weaken North Korea, so that the regime is 'closed on the inside.' Why this is being done is not entirely understandable from the point of view of the ultimate goal. After all, the more you put pressure on the regime, the faster it develops its military potential and militarizes," Toloraya explained.
"For 25 years, the US hasn't been able to formulate what it wants in North Korea. Actually, they would like for it not to exist on the planet. But they understand that in the present conditions this is impossible without a big war. In that case, it is necessary for North Korea to at least give up the nuclear weapons program. At the same time, Americans don't want to make concessions. As soon as the Americans formulate what they want from North Korea, then some progress can begin."
The Trump administration is unlikely to formulate a new policy in relation to the isolated nation, Toloraya said.
"Every US President has taken a big swing at the North Korean situation and then retreated to what there was before: the policy of the 'carrot and the stick.' Some of them have more carrots and some have more sticks, but in the end nothing changes. The only thing that changes is that North Korea is further advancing its nuclear program and this is dangerous for everyone."