As well as a growing list of ballistic missile launches, North Korea has also conducted two nuclear weapons tests since January 2016.

"Unlike the KN-15, which uses solid fuel, the missile fired Wednesday used liquid fuel and was sacked from a fixed location, rather than a mobile launcher", the official said.

Topping the agenda of the U.S. It's assumed by many that China would not endanger its trade with the intervening militarily on behalf of its client North Korea, but assumptions and certainties are not the same things.

Any launch of objects using the ballistic missile technology is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, but the North has repeatedly defied the ban as infringement of its sovereign rights to self defence and the pursuit of space exploration.

The United States and South Korea agreed on Thursday to proceed with the deployment of an advanced USA missile defence system that has angered China, a day after North Korea's latest test launch drew condemnation across the volatile region.

"It spun out of control after going only a fraction of its range", the official said.

The United States, for its part, has installed a missile-defence system in South Korea.

North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Wednesday from its east coast into the sea off the Peninsula, South Korea's military said, ahead of a summit between USA and Chinese leaders who are set to discuss Pyongyang's arms programme.

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Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS think tank in Honolulu, said he was expecting North Korea would do something to coincide with the Trump-Xi summit, perhaps conduct a nuclear test.

"They may have taken the summit into account to pick a day but, to me, it is more likely to catch up with its own missile development roadmap for their technical needs", said Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University's Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul. He said that it is meant to push Beijing to curb Kim Jong-un's accelerating development of weapons of mass destruction.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry called the North's latest missile launch a "reckless provocation" that posed a threat to worldwide peace, while Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the country lodged a strong protest over the launch.

The move came after the reclusive state warned it will retaliate if the global community ramps up sanctions over its latest round of weapons tests.

Did North Korea really want to steal the show ahead of the Trump-Xi summit?

The Trump administration has been emphasizing its concern about the rising threat from North Korea to the U.S. In an interview with the Financial Times published on Sunday, President Trump said his administration would act unilaterally if China doesn't try to help de-escalate the tensions with North Korea.

In the second test on March 6, four Scud-ER missiles were fired, three of which fell into Japan's exclusive economic zone.

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