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France condemns North Korea missile launch

South Koreans watch a report of North Korea's missile launch Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

France has condemned North Korea's ballistic missile launch, as South Korea dubbed the move a "show of force" to new US President Donald Trump.

The missile, which the South Korean military believes was of the Rodong medium-range class or a newer type, flew 500km before landing in the Sea of Japan.

A French Foreign Affairs Ministry statement condemned the launch, saying it was in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

"France has contacted all the countries concerned, in particular with the permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as Japan and South Korea, to construct a firm and determined response," the statement said.

"The international community must come together and act without delay to prevent North Korea from disposing of an operational nuclear arsenal."

Speaking alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is on a visit to the US, Trump said, "I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent."