Japan PM Abe says he, Trump agree North Korea missile launch a ‘serious threat’

Image: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump pose for a photograph before attending dinner at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., February 11, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

By William Mallard

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that he and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed in a telephone call that North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch was “a dangerous provocation and a serious threat.”

Abe also told reporters at his official residence that he was watching to see how China would respond to Pyongyang after President Xi Jinping meets with Trump at the U.S. leader’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

In his brief, nationally televised remarks, Abe said Trump had told him that all options were on the table regarding how to handle North Korea.

Pyongyang test-fired a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast on Wednesday, a day before the Trump-Xi summit, where North Korea’s increasingly defiant arms programme was set to take centre stage.

Trump has repeatedly said China must do more to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile development. On Sunday he held out the possibility of using trade as a lever to secure Chinese cooperation while suggesting Washington might deal with Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs on its own if need be.

(Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Chris Reese and Sandra Maler) 

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