President Donald Trump and Japan PM Shinzo Abe speak on North Korea at Mar-a-Lago, Florida. Pic/AP
President Donald Trump and Japan PM Shinzo Abe speak on North Korea at Mar-a-Lago, Florida. Pic/AP

Seoul: North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea early yesterday, the first such test since US President Donald Trump was elected. His administration indicated that Washington would have a calibrated response to avoid escalating tensions.

The launch marks the first test of Trump’s vow to get tough on an isolated North Korean regime that last year tested nuclear devices and ballistic missiles at an unprecedented rate in violation of UN resolutions. A US official said the Trump administration had been expecting a North Korean “provocation” soon after taking office and would consider a full range of options in response, but these would be calibrated to show US resolve while avoiding escalation.

The new administration is likely to step up pressure on China to rein in North Korea. “This was no surprise,” the official said. “The North Korean leader likes to draw attention at times like this.”