‘Provocative’ missile test shows Kim could hit US base
NORTH Korea demonstrated it can hit America’s base in Guam after conducting its furthest-ever missile flight over Japan and into the Pacific.
The test, which sent millions of Japanese people under its flight path dashing for shelter, was an act of defiance after the UN Security Council approved new sanctions aiming to force Kim Jong-un to halt his escalating nuclear and missile tests.
The missile – which experts said was probably an intermediate range Hwasong-12 – flew 2,300 miles east from an airport near Pyongyang, reaching an altitude of 478 miles, before splashing down in the ocean.
The distance from Pyongyang to Guam is only 2,100 miles, US officials noted. The popular tourist destination is the main US bomber base in the Pacific and would be crucial to any military strike against North Korea.
Kim has previously threatened to hit Guam, but while experts said the latest test confirmed his missiles can reach the island, they cautioned that they don’t necessarily have the required accuracy.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for the international community to take ‘new measures’ against North Korea, adding that China and Russia ‘must’ rein in the isolated country through the crucial oil supplies they give it. But China angrily countered that it was ‘irresponsible’ for Washington to blame Beijing when it was the US that had ratcheted up the tension.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo could ‘never tolerate’ what he called a ‘dangerous provocative action that threatens world peace’.
South Korea responded to yesterday’s launch by carrying out a ‘live fire drill’ that included a missile launch which its military chiefs said was capable of striking the airport used for the North Korean test.