North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan

At least one missile fired from North Korea has flown over Japan and is believed to have landed in the Pacific Ocean, the prime minister’s office said.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Tuesday fired a ballistic missile at Japan for the first time in five years, forcing Japan to issue an evacuation notice and suspend trains during a flight of nuclear weapons. individuals can go to the US territory of Guam and beyond.

The launch was North Korea’s most provocative weapons display this year as the country ramped up missile tests in an effort to build a full-fledged nuclear arsenal capable of threatening allies of the United States and the United States. America’s homeland, and at the same time making it recognized as a nuclear state.

The United States said it strongly condemns North Korea’s “dangerous and reckless decision” to launch what it describes as a “long-range ballistic missile” to Japan.

“This action is destabilizing and shows (North Korea) blatant disregard for United Nations Security Council resolutions and international safety standards,” it said.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol earlier said the missile had a medium range, while Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said it was believed to have a medium range or longer. If Tuesday’s launch involved a long-range missile, it could have been a weapons test aimed at the homeland of the United States, some experts said.

Japanese authorities have warned people in northeastern regions to evacuate to shelters, in the first “J-alert” warning since 2017 when North Korea fired a Hwasong-12 medium-range missile twice entered Japan in a period of several weeks during the horrendous run of weapons prior to the tests.

Trains were suspended in the Hokkaido and Aomori regions until the government later announced that the North Korean missile appeared to have landed in the Pacific Ocean. In Sapporo, the capital of the main island of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost tip, subways were also suspended, with stations packed with commuters in the morning.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters the latest shooting “was a reckless act and I strongly condemn it”.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile was fired from inland north of North Korea. It warned North Korea’s repeated missile launches would only increase international isolation and spur Seoul and Washington to strengthen their deterrence capabilities.

Yoon said North Korea’s “reckless nuclear provocations” would meet a stern response from the South and the broader international community.

According to South Korean and Japanese estimates, the missile flew about 4,500-4,600 kilometers (2,800-2,860 miles) at a maximum altitude of 970-1,000 kilometers (600-620 miles). Hamada said the missile landed in the Pacific Ocean, about 3,200 kilometers (1,990 miles) off Japan’s northern coast, and there were no reports of damage to Japanese aircraft or ships.

Both South Korea and Japan convened emergency national security council meetings to discuss the launch. The US said national security adviser Jake Sullivan consulted with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts about their appropriate and strong responses.

“The United States will continue to work to limit North Korea’s ability to conduct prohibited ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson. including with allies and partners of the United Nations”.

The missile’s flight range indicates the missile has enough range to hit the US Pacific territory of Guam, where US military bases have sent advanced warplanes to the Korean Peninsula. North Korea to flex its muscles in the face of previous tensions with North Korea. In 2017, North Korea threatened to create “an enveloping fire” near Guam with a Hwasong-12 missile amid growing animosity with the then Trump administration.

North Korea last test-fired a Hwasong-12 missile in January. At the time, North Korea said the launch was aimed at verifying the overall accuracy of weapons being deployed in its military. But they said the rocket was launched at an angle to prevent it from flying over other countries.

Hamada said Tuesday’s launch could be another Hwasong-12.

Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said North Korea may have re-tested the Hwasong-12 or even an intercontinental ballistic missile, which is close to ballistic orbit. conventional but shorter than its full range. If it were an ICBM, the purpose of the launch would be to test whether the warhead could survive the extreme conditions of the atmosphere, Kim said.

Tuesday’s launch was North Korea’s fifth weapons test in the past 10 days, seen as a clear response to bilateral military exercises between South Korea and the United States as well as other drills. between allies including Japan last week.

The missiles fired in the past four launches were all short-range and fell into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. These missiles are capable of hitting targets in South Korea.

North Korea has test-fired about 40 missiles in about 20 different launch events this year as leader Kim Jong Un vowed to expand his nuclear arsenal and refused to return to nuclear diplomacy with the United States. Two of those tested were intercontinental ballistic missiles, but they did not fly over other countries because one was launched at a high angle and the other did not reach full range.

Some foreign experts say North Korea needs to master some of the remaining technology to have a working nuclear missile. Each new test pushes them closer to being able to reach the US mainland and its allies with a range of missiles carrying nuclear warheads at different ranges.

Some experts suggest that Kim will eventually return to diplomacy and use his expanding arsenal to pressure Washington to accept his country’s status as a nuclear state, a justification. which he deems necessary to win the lifting of international sanctions and other concessions.

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