NORTH KOREA LAUNCHES MISSILE OVER JAPAN
NORTH Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Friday, responding to new UN sanctions with its furthestever missile flight in what analysts called a demonstration of its ability to target Guam.
The launch, from near Pyongyang, came after the United Nations Security Council imposed an eighth set of measures on the isolated country following its sixth nuclear test earlier this month. The blast was by far its largest to date and Pyongyang said it was a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit onto a missile.
In New York, the Security Council called an emergency meeting for later Friday. The US Pacific Command confirmed Friday’s rocket was an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) and said it did not pose a threat to North America or to the US Pacific territory of Guam, which Pyongyang has threatened to bracket with “enveloping fire”.
Seoul’s defence ministry said it probably travelled around 3,700 kilometres and reached a maximum altitude of 770 kilometres. It was “the furthest overground any of their ballistic missiles has ever travelled”, Joseph Dempsey of the International Institute for Strategic Studies said on Twitter.
Physicist David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, added: “North Korea demonstrated that it could reach Guam with this missile, although the payload the missile was carrying is not known” and its accuracy was in doubt. The North has raised global tensions with its rapid progress in weapons technology under leader Kim Jong-Un.
Millions of Japanese were jolted awake by blaring sirens and emergency text message alerts. “Missile launch! missile launch! A missile appears to have been launched from North Korea,” loudspeakers blared on Cape Erimo, on Hokkaido’s southern tip.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo could “never tolerate” what he called a “dangerous provocative action that threatens world peace”. “If North Korea continues to walk down this path, it has no bright future,” he told reporters. “We must make North Korea understand this.” The missile was said to have overflown the US ally for around two minutes.
China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own
Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of state
China opposes the DPRK’s violation of the resolution of the Security Council, and its use of ballistic missiles. The concerned parties should exercise restraint
Hua Chunying, China FM spokeswoman
Russia firmly condemns the latest provocative launches which lead to a further escalation of tensions on the peninsula
Dmitry Pesko, Kremlin spokesman
We cannot assume North Korea’s intention, but given what it has said, I think it has Guam in mind
Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s defence minister
South Korea’s missile system fires Hyunmu-2 missile into the East Sea from an undisclosed location |