Japan slams N Korean missile test
NORTH Korea yesterday fired a ballistic missile into the sea off northern Japan, drawing an outraged response from Tokyo and ramping up already elevated tensions with the United States and South Korea.
The US military said the North had actually launched two Rodong intermediate-range missiles simultaneously, but one appeared to have exploded on take-off.
The launches came after North Korea threatened “physical action” in response to the planned deployment of a sophisticated US anti-missile system in South Korea, and just weeks before the start of annual joint South KoreaUS military exercises.
Japan said the one missile had landed 250 kilometres (154 miles) off its northern coast and within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“It’s a serious threat against our country’s security,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. “This is an outrageous act that cannot be tolerated by anyone.”
The US condemned what it called a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea’s use of ballistic missile technology.
“This provocation only serves to increase the international community’s resolve to counter [North Korea’s] prohibited activities,” said Pentagon spokesperson Gary Ross.
The US Strategic Command said the two missiles were launched from a site in western North Korea at about 7:50am.
“Initial indications reveal one of the missiles exploded immediately after launch, while the second was tracked over North Korea and into the Sea of Japan.”
It was the first time since 1998 that a North Korean missile had landed inside Japan’s EEZ. –