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Japan to extend unilateral sanctions against North Korea

It fired four ballistic missiles into Japanese waters in February.

The missile launch has been met with heavy condemnation throughout the world.

As the leaders of China and the United States sit down for a summit on Thursday, North Korea has made sure it also has something on the negotiating table: A nuclear-tipped bargaining chip. The missiles were fired towards the Sea of Japan.

The Korean military set a goal of nearly tripling the range of its missiles, from 300 to 800 kilometers, with a 500-kilogram payload. It has carried out several nuclear tests. It is likely to be an upgraded version of the submarine-launched missile named "Pukguksong" launched last summer. The missile defense agency says those have now been fixed.

It was not clear if Wednesday's launch was deliberately timed to coincide with Thursday's summit between China's President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump in Florida, where North Korea is expected to be a prime topic of discussions.

Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at Sejong Institute outside Seoul, said that could come in the form of another nuclear or ICBM test after the summit.

"I've joked before that they don't mind being hated but they definitely hate to be ignored", Cossa said. "I'm not advocating pre-emptive war, nor do I think that the deployment of nuclear weapons buys more for us than it costs", but he stressed that the USA was dealing with a "war today" situation. Washington, Seoul and others call the North's space program a cover for its long-range missile development program.

An EU statement Thursday said the new sanctions were imposed because North Korea violated multiple United Nations resolutions and constitutes "a grave threat to global peace and security".

The National Security Council presented options to President Trump on how to deal with the growing threat from North Korea which include assassinating dictator Kim Jong Un.

North Korea is pushing hard to upgrade its weapons systems to cope with what it calls US hostility.

The idea that the U.S. could deprive Pyongyang of its "nuclear deterrent" through sanctions is "the wildest dream", it said.

South Korea has been under the protection of the United States military for decades, but the agreements between the two countries set a limit on the specifications of missiles Seoul could develop until 2012, when Washington allowed the South to review the limitations as Seoul sought domestic deterrence to North Korea. North Korea sees the drills as an invasion rehearsal. "They moved what was demonstrated at sea onto land, onto a new launcher and did it in a very quick way", Hyten said.

The missile flew about 60 km (40 miles) from its launch site at Sinpo, a port city on North Korea's east coast, the South Korean Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

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