N Korea ‘threatening world peace’
SOUTH KOREA: North Korea fired a missile that flew over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido far out into the Pacific Ocean yesterday, further ratcheting up tensions after Pyongyang’s recent test of its most powerful nuclear bomb.
The missile flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific about 2000km east of Hokkaido, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.
Warning announcements about the missile blared in the town of Kamaishi in northern Japan, footage from national broadcaster NHK showed.
The missile reached an altitude of about 770km and flew for about 19 minutes over a distance of about 3700km, according to South Korea’s military - far enough to reach the United States Pacific territory of Guam.
The US military said soon afterwards that it had detected a single intermediate-range ballistic missile, but it did not pose a threat to North America or Guam, towards which Pyongyang had previously threatened to launch a missile.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for ‘‘new measures’’ against North Korea and that ‘‘these continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation’’.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said dialogue with the North was impossible at this point. He had ordered officials to analyse and prepare for new possible North Korean threats, including electromagnetic pulse and biochemical attacks, a spokesman said.
The United Nations Security Council was to meet today at the request of the US and Japan, diplomats said, just days after it unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea over its September 3 nuclear test. Those sanctions imposed a ban on the country’s textile exports and capped imports of crude oil.
‘‘The international community needs to come together and send a clear message to North Korea that it is threatening world peace with its actions,’’ Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. He described the launch as ‘‘unacceptable’’.
North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under young leader Kim Jong-un as it accelerates a weapons programme designed to give it the ability to target the US with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.
Last month, North Korea fired a missile from a similar area near the capital, Pyongyang, that also flew over Hokkaido into the ocean. Two tests in July were of longrange intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching at least parts of the US mainland.
The North’s launch came a day after Pyongyang threatened to sink Japan and reduce the US to ‘‘ashes and darkness’’ for supporting the new UN sanctions against it for the September 3 nuclear test, its sixth and most powerful by far.
The US general who oversees America’s nuclear forces said yesterday he was making the assumption that the test was in fact a hydrogen bomb, as Pyongyang had claimed, based on the size of the blast.
US President Donald Trump has asked China to do more to rein in its neighbour. China in turn favours an international response to the problem. - Reuters
A Japanese news report shows the trajectory of a North Korean intermediaterange missile over the island of Hokkaido into the Pacific Ocean.