N. Korea launches new ICBM over Ja­pan

Py­ongyang threat­ens to sink ma­jor is­lands

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Anna Fi­field and Dan Lamothe The Wash­ing­ton Post

SEOUL — North Korea fired an­other mis­sile over the north­ern Ja­panese is­land of Hokkaido on Fri­day morn­ing, just a day af­ter Py­ongyang said that Ja­pan “should be sunken into the sea” with a nu­clear bomb and that the United States should be “beaten to death” with a stick “fit for a ra­bid dog.”

This was the sec­ond time in less than three weeks that North Korea sent a bal­lis­tic mis­sile over Ja­pan, and the launch came less than two weeks af­ter North Korea ex­ploded what is widely be­lieved to be a hy­dro­gen bomb.

The lat­est launch im­me­di­ately sparked an­gry re­ac­tions from Tokyo and Seoul. Sec­re­tary of

State Rex Tiller­son said the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity had to unite to pun­ish Kim Jong Un’s regime, call­ing this week’s U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil sanc­tions “the floor, not the ceil­ing.”

“China sup­plies North Korea with most of its oil. Rus­sia is the largest em­ployer of North Korean forced la­bor,” Tiller­son said in a state­ment, sin­gling out the two veto-wield­ing mem­bers of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, who are also the clos­est thing to al­lies that North Korea has.

“China and Rus­sia must in­di­cate


their in­tol­er­ance for these reck­less mis­sile launches by tak­ing di­rect ac­tions of their own,” he said.

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 2,300 miles over 17 min­utes, pass­ing over Hokkaido and land­ing some 1,200 miles to the east in the Pa­cific Ocean.

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

The Ja­panese gov­ern­ment warned peo­ple not to ap­proach any de­bris or other sus­pi­cious-look­ing ma­te­rial, a re­flec­tion of the fact that North Korean mis­siles some­times break up in flight.

Ja­pan’s chief cab­i­net sec­re­tary, Yoshi­hide Suga, con­demned the lat­est launch in “the strong­est terms pos­si­ble” and re­it­er­ated that Ja­pan would “not tol­er­ate” North Korea’s ac­tions. But Ja­pan did not try to shoot down the mis­sile.

South Korea, how­ever, im­me­di­ately fired one of its Hyun­moo-ii mis­siles 155 miles into the sea — the same dis­tance it would have had to travel to reach the Su­nan air­field.

In Wash­ing­ton, the White House said President Don­ald Trump was briefed on the lat­est North Korean mis­sile launch by his chief of staff, John Kelly.

The mis­sile did not pose a threat to North Amer­ica or to the U.S. ter­ri­tory of Guam, the U.S. Pa­cific Com­mand said. The Pa­cific is­land of Guam is home to large Air Force and Navy bases and was the tar­get of North Korea’s re­cent rhetor­i­cal threats.

“We con­tinue to mon­i­tor North Korea’s ac­tions closely,” the Pa­cific Com­mand said in a state­ment.

Fri­day’s launch ap­peared sim­i­lar to the pre­vi­ous launch, on Aug.

29. On that day, North Korea fired a Hwa­song-12 — an in­ter­me­di­ate-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile tech­ni­cally ca­pa­ble of fly­ing 3,000 miles, enough to reach Guam — from the Su­nan air­field. But it also flew to the east, over Hokkaido and into the Pa­cific Ocean, rather than on a south­ward path to­ward Guam.

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 its mis­siles’ flight on a nor­mal tra­jec­tory with­out cross­ing a “red line” of aim­ing at the United States.

On Thurs­day, a North Korean state agency had is­sued an alarm­ing threat to what it of­fen­sively called the “wicked Japs.”

“The four is­lands of the (Ja­panese) ar­chi­pel­ago should be sunken into the sea by (our) nu­clear bomb,” a spokesman for 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 spokesman said.

This is the first mis­sile launch since North Korea con­ducted a huge nu­clear test Sept. 3, which an­a­lysts say ap­peared to live up to Py­ongyang’s claim that the de­vice that was ex­ploded was a hy­dro­gen bomb, ex­po­nen­tially more pow­er­ful than a nor­mal atomic de­vice.

That test, com­bined with the rapid pace of mis­sile launches and North Korea’s stated goal of want­ing to be able to strike the main­land United States with a nu­clear-tipped mis­sile, has caused alarm around the world.

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