President Trump will be forced to deal with ongoing threats from North Korea as that country gains the ability to threaten the continental U.S. with a nuclear strike, an official said on Sunday, hours after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile into nearby seas.

North Korea will likely develop its ballistic missile technology enough to pair with its nuclear weapons to reach the U.S. during Trump’s tenure, said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Either the U.S. gets the Chinese to help increase pressure on North Korea through sanctions, or Trump will have “a truly consequential decision,” Haass said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on Sunday.

“Trump is going to have to face a truly fateful decision about whether we’re prepared to live with that, a North Korea that has that capability against us, or we are going to use military force one way or another to destroy their nuclear missile capability,” Haass said.

South Korea’s military said the missile fired Sunday was believed to be an improved version of the mid-range Musudan model. It was launched at 7:55 a.m. local time from North Korea’s northwest, the same region where the regime fired a missile in October. The projectile flew 310 miles into the East Sea, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said.

The launch drew a joint rebuke from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump during Abe’s visit to the U.S., as well as condemnation from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Russia.


Abe, speaking at a briefing late Saturday with Trump at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, said the missile test “can absolutely not be tolerated.” He called on North Korea to fully comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions. The launch was the first provocation by North Korea since Trump took office Jan. 20.

Trump has vowed to prevent the country from developing the capability to strike the U.S. with a missile. “The United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent,” he said on Saturday. Neither Abe nor Trump took questions.

The U.S. Strategic Command said in a statement that Pyongyang launched a medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile that posed no threat to North America. South Korea’s presidential security adviser Kim Kwan Jin called U.S. counterpart Michael Flynn after the launch, the Blue House said in a statement. They agreed to cooperate on ways to deter North Korea, it said.

The new president is sending a message of “strength and solidarity” with Japan in response to North Korea’s test firing, and the provocation shows the need to bolster the U.S. military as Trump has promised, White House aide Stephen Miller said.

“President Trump is displaying the strength of America to the whole world,” Miller said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “And it’s why we’re going to begin a process of rebuilding our depleted defense capabilities on a scale we have not seen in generations.”

The missile test came amid signs that Trump, having previously chided Japan for what he said was an insufficient contribution to the cost of housing U.S. troops there, wants to reset his relationship with Abe.

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