Trump tells Abe US to boost military capabilities to counter North Korea

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump told Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by phone on Wednesday that the United States will strengthen its military capabilities to defend its allies against North Korea after it launched a ballistic missile, the White House said in a press release.

On Tuesday, the US military detected that North Korea fired a medium-range ballistic missile from a land-based facility near a port city on its east coast.

“The President emphasized that the United States stands with its allies Japan and South Korea in the face of the serious threat that North Korea continues to pose,” the release stated on Wednesday. “The President also made clear that the United States will continue to strengthen its ability to deter and defend itself and its allies with the full range of its military capabilities.”

Both leaders will maintain close communication to strengthen cooperation on North Korea and other regional issues of mutual interest, the release stated.

Tensions in the Korean Peninsula escalated since North Korea carried out a number of missile launches and nuclear tests, with one of the latest being the launch of four missiles in the direction of the Sea of Japan, conducted on March 6, as well as new high-thrust rocket engine tested on the ground on March 18. The launches are considered to be in violation of a UN resolution. PNA/