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BREAKING: North Korea Ratchets Up Tension, Fires Ballistic Missile

According to the Yonhap news agency, early on Saturday morning in North Korea, which is 12 ½ hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, the North Korean government test-fired a ballistic missile from a region north of Pyongyang. Yonhap got the news from South Korea’s military, which reported, “North Korea fired an unidentified missile from a site in the vicinity of Bukchang in Pyeongannam-do (South Pyeongan Province) in the northeastern direction at around 5:30 a.m. today. It is estimated to have failed.”

On Friday in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that failure to curb North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to “catastrophic consequences.” Meanwhile, China and Russia rebuked Washington’s threat of military force, according to Reuters.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the U.N. Security Council that China should not be held responsible for corralling North Korea, asserting, “The key to solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula does not lie in the hands of the Chinese side.” He added, “First cooling down (the) temperature in the peninsula as quickly as possible … China strongly urges all parties to remain calm and exercise restraint and avoid provocative rhetoric or action that would lead to miscalculation.”

On Thursday, President Trump told Reuters, “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea, absolutely.”

Democratic Senator Mark Warner (D-NY), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, used the occasion to bash President Trump, telling CNN:

This is where we have got when we have two bellicose, belligerent leaders, both ratcheting up the rhetoric. I believe Japan, South Korea and the allies have to stand up strong. We have to bring Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table, not to his knees.

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