N. Korea fires an­other mis­sile over Ja­pan

The Detroit News - - Front Page - As­so­ci­ated Press

Seoul, South Korea — South Korea’s mil­i­tary said North Korea fired an uniden­ti­fied mis­sile Fri­day from its cap­i­tal Py­ongyang that flew over Ja­pan be­fore land­ing in the north­ern Pa­cific Ocean.

It was the sec­ond ag­gres­sive test-flight over the ter­ri­tory of the close U.S. ally in less than a month and it fol­lowed the sixth and most pow­er­ful nu­clear test by North Korea to date on Sept. 3.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the mis­sile trav­eled about 2,300 miles while reach­ing a max­i­mum height of 478 miles. Ja­pan didn’t at­tempt to shoot down the mis­sile.

The mis­sile was launched from Su­nan, the site of Py­ongyang’s in­ter­na­tional air­port.

“Th­ese con­tin­ued provo­ca­tions against our coun­try by North Korea can ab­so­lutely not be tol­er­ated,” Yoshi­hide Suga, Ja­pan’s gov­ern­ment spokesman, told re­porters. “We protest strongly, con­vey­ing the strong anger of the Ja­panese peo­ple.”

North Korea last month used the air­port to fire a Hwa­song-12 in­ter­me­di­ate range mis­sile that flew over north­ern Ja­pan.

The North de­clared it a “mean­ing­ful pre­lude” to con­tain­ing the U.S. Pa­cific is­land ter­ri­tory of Guam and the start of more bal­lis­tic mis­sile launches to­ward the Pa­cific Ocean.

South Korean ex­perts said the Au­gust launch was Py­ongyang’s at­tempt to make mis­siles fly­ing over Ja­pan an ac­cepted norm as it seeks to test pro­jec­tiles and win more mil­i­tary space in the re­gion dom­i­nated by its en­e­mies.

Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in has in­structed South Korean of­fi­cials to pur­sue “stern” diplo­matic and mil­i­tary mea­sures to dis­cour­age North Korea from fur­ther provo­ca­tions af­ter its lat­est mis­sile launch.

Ear­lier Thurs­day, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son urged China to use its lever­age as North Korea’s prin­ci­pal sup­plier of oil to press the iso­lated na­tion into re­con­sid­er­ing its de­vel­op­ment of nu­clear weapons.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion sought an em­bargo on oil im­ports to North Korea at the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil this week in re­sponse to the North’s most pow­er­ful nu­clear test to date. But op­po­si­tion from China and Rus­sia forced the U.N. to ap­prove weaker mea­sures, although it did ban tex­tile ex­ports, an im­por­tant source of its rev­enue for the North.

Tiller­son said it was go­ing to be “very dif­fi­cult” to get China to con­sent to an em­bargo against its neigh­bor, but he still urged China as a “great coun­try and a world power” to use its lever­age as the sup­plier of vir­tu­ally all North Korea’s oil.

“That is a very pow­er­ful tool and it has been used in the past,” Tiller­son said at a news con­fer­ence. “We hope China will not re­ject that.” He spoke af­ter talks with Bri­tain and France on how to in­crease pres­sure on the au­thor­i­tar­ian gov­ern­ment of Kim Jong Un as it moves closer to hav­ing a nu­clear-tipped mis­sile that could threaten the Amer­i­can main­land.

China op­poses North Korea’s nu­clear weapons de­vel­op­ment but wor­ries that greater eco­nomic pres­sure on the North could trig­ger a col­lapse. It wants the U.S. to restart long-stalled ne­go­ti­a­tions with North Korea.

The U.S., Bri­tain and France are the other per­ma­nent mem­bers of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, the U.N.’s most pow­er­ful de­ci­sion-mak­ing body.

“The Chi­nese have done more per­haps than we thought that they would, but there is scope for them to do much, much more, par­tic­u­larly in re­spect to oil,” Bri­tish For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son said.

He cau­tioned against pur­su­ing al­ter­na­tive ef­forts at en­gage­ment with Py­ongyang — a pos­si­ble ref­er­ence to com­ments this week by Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel who of­fered to act as a fa­cil­i­ta­tor, if needed, in diplo­macy. Merkel sug­gested that the ap­proach taken with Iran — lift­ing in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions in ex­change for it curb­ing nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties — could be used with North Korea.

Leon Neal / Getty Images

Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son urged China to use its lever­age to press N. Korea into re­con­sid­er­ing its de­vel­op­ment of nukes.

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