N Korea increases tension with new missile over Japan
Amid escalating regional tension, north Korea fired a second missile that flew over Japan in less than a month
FIRING the second missile that flew over Japan, North Korea has deepened the current crisis. Like many powers, Turkey condemned the latest ballistic missile launch, which was the longest ever fired by North Korea, saying that it would deteriorate international security.
north Korea fired a missile that flew over Japan’s northern Hokkaido far out into the Pacific Ocean on Friday, South Korean and Japanese officials said, deepening tensions after Pyongyang’s recent test of its most powerful nuclear bomb.
The missile flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) east of Hokkaido, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters. Warning sirens blared in northern Japan on Friday when North Korea launched a missile and again when it passed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido as residents were just starting their day.
Community loudspeakers instructed people to get inside any building and go to the basement. TV stations relayed the warnings and residents of several prefectures received the emergency messages on their cellphones. Trains and subways on Hokkaido briefly stopped for safety checks.
If practice makes perfect, people in northern Japan got another chance to improve on how they would protect themselves from a future warhead.
It’s the second time Japan’s emergency J-Alert system kicked into action in less than a month, following an earlier North Korean missile flyover on Aug. 29. 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 United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile. Two tests in July were for long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching at least parts of the U.S. mainland.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the launch “put millions of Japa- nese into duck and cover”, although residents in northern Japan appeared calm and went about their business as normal after the second such launch in less than a month.
The missile reached an altitude of about 770 km (480 miles) and flew for about 19 minutes over a distance of about 3,700 km (2,300 miles), according to South Korea’s military - far enough to reach the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
The U.S. military said soon after the launch it had detected a single intermediate range ballistic missile but the missile did not pose a threat to North America or the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, which lies 3,400 km (2,110 miles) from North Korea. Pyongyang had previously threatened to launch missiles towards Guam.
“The range of this test was significant since North Korea demonstrated that it could reach Guam with this missile,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a statement. However, it said the accuracy of the missile, still at an early stage of development, was low so it would be difficult to destroy the U.S. Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. U.S. officials repeated Washington’s “ironclad” commitments to the defence of its allies. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for “new measures” against North Korea and said the “continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation”.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in echoed that view and said dialogue with the North was impossible at this point. He ordered officials to analyse and prepare for possible new North Korean threats, including electro-magnetic pulse and biochemical attacks, a spokesman said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves during a military parade in Pyongyang.