N. Korea Tests Another Intermediate-Range Missile
PYONGYANG (dispatches) - North Korea’s second missile launch over Japan in as many months flew far enough to put the U.S. territory of Guam in range, a provocation that comes days after the United Nations approved harsher sanctions against Kim Jong Un’s regime.
The intermediate-range missile fired from Pyongyang at 6:57 a.m. on Friday flew over the northern island of Hokkaido, reaching an altitude of 770 kilometers (478 miles) before landing in the Pacific Ocean. It traveled 3,700 kilometers -- further than the 3,400 kilometers from Pyongyang to Guam, which North Korea has repeatedly threatened.
“The range of this test was significant since North Korea demonstrated that it could reach Guam with this missile, although the payload the missile was carrying is not known,” David Wright, a co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote in a blog post.
North Korea, which has fired more than a dozen missiles this year, had pledged to retaliate after the UN Security Council punished the country for its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3. Investors largely shrugged it off on Friday, showing that financial markets are growing accustomed to North Korea’s provocations and the responses of the U.S. and its allies.
A North Korean foreign ministry official told reporters at Beijing’s international airport that Friday’s launch was a “normal part of strengthening our nuclear deterrent,” according to NHK.
The Japanese public broadcaster cited Choe Kang Il, deputy director general for North American affairs, as saying North Korea wouldn’t enter dialogue unless the U.S. stops antagonizing his nation. Choe was on his way back from Switzerland, where he attended a meeting on Northeast Asian security.
U.S. President Donald Trump was briefed on the missile launch but made no mention of North Korea in remarks at a White House dinner on Thursday night. The president has said all options -- including military -- are on the table to stop North Korea from obtaining the ability to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon, and has questioned the usefulness of talks.
“These continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation,” U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson said in a statement. He reiterated a call for China and Russia to take action against the rogue state, saying: “China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor.”