North Korea tests new missile, further enrages Washington

North Korea tested another ballistic missile early Wednesday, swiftly drawing the ire of Washington shortly before President Donald Trump's planned summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Initial reports indicated worries from some experts that North Korea may have tested a new, more dangerous form of missile technology.

"North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an unusually terse statement following the launch.

Inside North Korea's secretive missile program

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Inside North Korea's secretive missile program
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Inside North Korea's secretive missile program
A missile is carried by a military vehicle during a parade to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of a truce in the 1950-1953 Korean War, at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang July 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY ANNIVERSARY)
Engineers check the base of Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, during a guided media tour by North Korean authorities in the northwest of Pyongyang April 8, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)
A North Korean scientist looks at a monitor showing the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, at the satellite control centre of the Korean Committee of Space Technology on the outskirts of Pyongyang April 11, 2012. North Korea said on Wednesday it was injecting fuel into a long-range rocket ahead of a launch condemned by its neighbours and the West. The launch is set to take place between Thursday and next Monday and has prompted neighbours such as the Philippines to re-route their air traffic. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
A soldier stands guard in front of the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, during a guided media tour by North Korean authorities in the northwest of Pyongyang April 8, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
North Korean soldiers salute in a military vehicle carrying a missile during a parade to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of a truce in the 1950-1953 Korean War, at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang July 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY ANNIVERSARY)
Ko Yun-hwa (L), Administrator of Korea Meteorological Administration, points at where seismic waves observed in South Korea came from, during a media briefing at Korea Meteorological Administration in Seoul, South Korea, January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A sales assistant watches TV sets broadcasting a news report on North Korea's nuclear test, in Seoul, January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Workers construct a new nuclear reactor in the North Korean village of Kumho in this file photo taken August 7, 2002. The United States urged North Korea December 21, 2002 not to restart a nuclear reactor suspected of being used to make weapons-grade plutonium. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that North Korea had disabled surveillance devices the agency had placed at the five-megawatt Nyongbyong reactor. REUTERS/Lee Jae-won/File Photo LJW/RCS/AA
A passenger walks past a television report on North Korea's nuclear test at a railway station in Seoul February 12, 2013. North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Tuesday, South Korea's defence ministry said, after seismic activity measuring 4.9 magnitude was registered by the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicentre of the seismic activity, which was only one km below the Earth's surface, was close to the North's known nuclear test site. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji (SOUTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
A scientist stands beside the Kwangmyongsong-3 application satellite, to be put onto the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, during a guided media tour by North Korean authorities in the northwest of Pyongyang April 8, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)
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The remarks by the secretary, who has been increasingly besieged by questions about his approach to the job early in his tenure, were immediately seized upon by some as "incredibly odd."

A senior White House official elaborated, telling CNN: "The clock has now run out, and all options are on the table."

But the comment echoes remarks made by Tillerson last month in Asia, who at the time said "all options" are on the table for the new administration.

SEE ALSO: North Korea test-fires missile into sea ahead of Trump-Xi meeting

A leading North Korean defector warned on Monday that leader Kim Jong Un is "desperate" and prepared to actually use the country's nuclear arsenal against hostile powers, including the U.S. And, without going into detail, Trump told the Financial Times in an interview published Monday the U.S. is prepared to face North Korea alone, if its traditional ally China doesn't do more to solve the proliferation issue.

"What Trump is trying to do is set the bar high," Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, told The Hill. "By saying we're going to take action alone, that doesn't necessarily mean military action. That could mean in theory that we could talk to North Korea alone and cut the Chinese out. ... Or it could be some sort of military action, but the downside of military action is almost unthinkable."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Armed Services Committee and a leading proponent of the use of American force, called the North Korean issue an "immediate problem."

Trump meets with President Xi at Mar-A-Lago starting Thursday, in the what is considered by some to be the most hotly-anticipated bilateral summit of his young presidency.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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