Kim calls for more missile launches into the Pacific
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea’s state media says leader Kim Jong Un is calling for more ballistic missile launches into the Pacific a day after the country flew a missile designed to carry a nuclear payload over Japan.
The Korean Central News Agency said Kim expressed great satisfaction with the launch, calling it a “meaningful prelude” to containing Guam, the U.S. Pacific territory and military hub.
The agency says Kim said the country needs to conduct more ballistic missile tests to the Pacific to advance the capabilities of its strategic force.
The agency says the missile the North fired was the Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile it recently threatened to fire toward Guam.
North Korea said Kim was present this week when it fired for the first time a ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload that flew over Japan and splashed into the northern Pacific Ocean.
President Donald Trump offered a surprisingly subdued response Tuesday, pulling back from his administration’s recent suggestions of a dialogue with the communist country but also avoiding a repeat of his bombastic warnings of a potential military confrontation.
Instead, Trump’s terse, written statement reiterating that all U.S. options are being considered pointed to an administration cautiously searching for an effective policy, even as the North’s test risked endangering Japanese civilians. Washington and its allies called an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting for later Tuesday.
“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world,” Trump said after the North’s missile soared almost 1,700 miles into the Pacific, triggering alert warnings in northern Japan and shudders throughout Northeast Asia. “All options are on the table.”
This week’s aggressive missile launch — likely the longest ever from North Korea — over the territory of a close U.S. ally sends a clear message of defiance as Washington and Seoul conduct war games nearby.
The North first successfully tested the Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile in May and threatened to fire into waters near Guam earlier this month.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled about 1,677 miles and reached a maximum height of 341 miles as it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
People on Tuesday in Tokyo walk by a TV news program reporting North Korea’s latest missile launch.