N. Korea launches ballistic missile that traveled about 450 miles into sea
tokyo — North Korea fired a ballistic missile early Sunday, sending it from a launch site near its border with China some 450 miles into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
It was launched from the same site where North Korea fired two mystery missiles that some analysts thought could have been intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the mainland United States.
But the U.S. military said that the flight pattern was “not consistent” with an ICBM and did not threaten the United States.
Regardless, the apparent success of the launch and the steady pace of firings will only heighten tensions in the region.
Sunday’s launch is the first since Moon Jae-in, a liberal who is promoting engagement with North Korea, took office as South Korea’s new president Wednesday. Moon immediately convened an emergency meeting of his national security council to discuss the launch.
It also comes after repeated warnings from President Trump to North Korea to stop — and China to crack down on its errant neighbor. Trump will likely urge Beijing to use its leverage over Pyongyang to punish it for this latest provocation.
In a statement late Saturday, the White House said, “North Korea has been a flagrant menace for far too long . . . . Let this latest provocation serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea.”
The statement also noted the missile’s proximity to Russia: “With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil — in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan — the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased.”
Analysts were still working to identify the kind of missile launched Sunday morning local time.
U.S. Pacific Command, based in Hawaii, said it had detected and assessed the missile, and “the flight was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile.” However, it did not state what kind of missile it appeared to be.
“The North American Aerospace Defense Command determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America,” Pacific Command spokesman Rob Shuford said in a statement.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the missile was fired shortly after 5 a.m. North Korea time, from Kusong, an area not far from the border with China.
In Tokyo, the Japanese government said that the missile flew for 30 minutes. It strongly condemned the “absolutely unacceptable” behavior.
“These repeated missile launches by North Korea are a grave threat to our country and are in clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.