N Korea targets Guam
FURTHEST EVER LAUNCHED AFTER UN SANCTIONS
Security Council calls emergency meeting after Pacific blast.
North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific yesterday, responding to new United Nations (UN) sanctions with its furthest-ever missile flight in what analysts called a demonstration of its ability to target Guam.
The launch, from near Pyongyang, came after the UN 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.
The US Pacific Command confirmed the rocket was an intermediate range ballistic missile 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 3 700km and reached a maximum altitude of 770km. It was “the furthest overground any of their ballistic missiles has ever travelled”, Joseph Dempsey of the International Institute for Strategic Studies said. Physicist David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said North Korea demonstrated 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, who is closely associated with the programme and regularly pictured by state media overseeing launches and visiting facilities.