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President Trump pledges more North Korea sanctions

People watched a television news screen showing pictures of President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at a railway station in Seoul on Wednesday.
JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images
People watched a television news screen showing pictures of President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un at a railway station in Seoul on Wednesday.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Donald Trump says he’s spoken with Chinese leader Xi Jinping about North Korea’s latest missile test.

Trump is promising more penalties against the North.

The president tweets that he’s spoke with Xi about ‘‘the provocative actions of North Korea. Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!’’

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A White House statement about the phone conversation says Trump made clear ‘‘the determination of the United States to defend ourselves and our allies.’’ Trump also ‘‘emphasized the need for China to use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization.’’

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After 2 1/2 months of relative quiet, North Korea said it successfully fired a ‘‘significantly more’’ powerful, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile early Wednesday. Outside governments and analysts concurred it had made a jump in capability.

Other world leaders echoed concerns about the reclusive country.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has sharply condemned the missile test, saying “the ruthless behavior of North Korea is an enormous threat for international security.’’

He said that ‘‘the regime in Pyongyang has again escalated tensions in the region with its latest test.’’

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Gabriel added that the missile launch was ‘‘proof what a threat North Korea poses for world peace.’’

KCNA VIA AFP/Getty Images
A document signed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to test-fire the inter-continental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15.

Russia says the missile test is a provocation that has hurt the chances for settling the ongoing crisis.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, voiced hope Wednesday that all parties involved would ‘‘maintain the calm needed to prevent the situation on the Korean Peninsula from developing along the worst scenario.’’

Peskov condemned the North’s missile test as a ‘‘provocative action that foments tensions and puts off the launch of efforts to settle the crisis situation.’’ He added that ‘‘there is no reason for optimism.’’

The test took place just as a Russian parliamentary delegation was visiting Pyongyang. Leonid Slutsky, the head of the lower house’s international affairs committee, said its members were conveying Moscow’s concern and trying to encourage the North to ‘‘stop the destructive escalation of tensions.’’

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In China, which borders North Korea, the country’s foreign ministry says the country is ‘‘seriously concerned about and opposed to’’ North Korea’s latest missile test.

Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that China ‘‘strongly urges’’ the North to abide by Security Council resolutions and cease actions that might escalate tensions.

Geng told reporters at a daily news briefing that all concerned parties should ‘‘act with caution and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability,’’

China is North Korea’s only significant ally and biggest source of trade and aid, but has backed increasingly harsh U.N. Security Council resolutions in hopes of convincing Pyongyang to return to talks.

It has called on the North to cease its missile tests and nuclear activities in return for the U.S. and South Korea suspending large-scale military exercises.

However, Beijing has rejected measures that could destabilize Kim Jong Un’s regime and says military force is cannot be an option in dealing with the tensions.