North Korea sends mis­sile over Ja­pan

Flight path soars over Ja­pan, which con­demns ac­tions.

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By Anna Fi­field Wash­ing­ton Post

North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un, fired a mis­sile today that flew over Ja­pan, trig­ger­ing anger in Seoul and Tokyo.

North Korea fired SEOUL — an­other mis­sile over the north­ern Ja­panese is­land of Hokkaido this morn­ing, just a day after Py­ongyang threat­ened that the four main Ja­panese is­lands would “be sunken into the sea” by its nu­clear bomb.

It was the sec­ond time in less than three weeks that North Korea had launched a mis­sile over Ja­pan, and im­me­di­ately sparked an­gry re­ac­tions in Tokyo and Seoul.

The mis­sile was launched from the Su­nan air­field just north of Py­ongyang about 6:30 a.m. lo­cal time, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said. It flew for 17 min­utes, pass­ing over Hokkaido and land­ing some 1,200 to the east in the Pa­cific Ocean.

The launch im­me­di­ately trig­gered emer­gency alerts in Ja­pan, with text mes­sages and loud­speak­ers telling res­i­dents un­der the mis­sile’s po­ten­tial flight path to seek shel­ter.

The Ja­panese gov­ern­ment warned peo­ple not to ap­proach any de­bris or other sus­pi­cious-look­ing ma­te­rial. North Korean mis­siles some­times break up in flight.

The Ja­panese chief cab­i­net sec­re­tary, Yoshi­hide Suga, con­demned the launch and re­it­er­ated a pledge that Ja­pan would “not tol­er­ate” North Korea’s ac­tions.

De­tails were still emerg­ing, but the launch ap­peared very sim­i­lar to the last prior one on Aug. 29.

North Korea fired a Hwa­song-12 — an in­ter­me­di­ate-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile tech­ni­cally ca­pa­ble of fly­ing 3,000 miles, enough to reach the U.S. ter­ri­tory of Guam — from the Su­nan air­field.

It flew to the east, over Hokkaido, rather than on a south­ward path to­ward Guam.

But an­a­lysts said that, after test­ing its mis­siles by fir­ing them straight up and hav­ing them crash into the sea be­tween the Korean penin­sula and Ja­pan, North Korea was ap­par­ently test­ing the mis­sile’s flight on a nor­mal tra­jec­tory.

That launch, fol­lowed by a huge nu­clear test, trig­gered new sanc­tions by the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. On Thurs­day, a North Korean state agency re­sponded with an alarm­ing threat to Ja­pan.

“The four is­lands of the [Ja­panese] ar­chi­pel­ago should be sunken into the sea by [our] nu­clear bomb,” the Korea Asia-Pa­cific peace com­mit­tee said in a state­ment car­ried by the of­fi­cial news agency.

Hokkaido is the north­ern­most of Ja­pan’s four main is­lands.

“Ja­pan is no longer needed to ex­ist near us,” the com­mit­tee said.

Fol­low­ing Fri­day’s launch, South Korea’s pres­i­dent, Moon Jae-in, con­vened an emer­gency meet­ing of his na­tional se­cu­rity coun­cil.

The North’s mis­sile pro­gram had been known more for fail­ures than suc­cesses un­til it made a rush of ad­vances this year. An­a­lysts say a pow­er­ful new en­gine lies be­hind a string of suc­cess­ful tests, and as a re­sult, the North has in­creased the fre­quency and po­tency of its ex­per­i­ments.

North Korea has launched more than 80 mis­siles since Kim Jong Un came to power in 2011. The nu­clear and mis­sile tests have strained the re­gion’s nerves and chal­lenged Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion to project a co­he­sive pol­icy on the con­flict.

Last month, Trump threat­ened that North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if the coun­try con­tin­ued its provo­ca­tions. But it has pur­sued a strat­egy of pres­sur­ing China, the North’s chief trad­ing partner, to ap­ply eco­nomic pres­sure — in par­tic­u­lar by cut­ting off the Kim regime’s oil im­ports. China and Rus­sia, how­ever, have con­tended that do­ing so would desta­bi­lize the coun­try and po­ten­tially prompt a re­ac­tion that would negate any op­por­tu­nity to reach a diplo­matic so­lu­tion.

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