N Korea missile sent into Japanese waters. Outrageous, says Abe

N Korea missile sent into Japanese waters. Outrageous, says Abe

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North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile which travelled 1,000km (620 miles) before landing in Japanese waters, the South and Japan say. The missile was launched off the North’s east coast early on Wednesday.
The North is barred from developing nuclear and ballistic missile technology by UN resolution.But it had vowed a “physical response” to the US and Seoul’s plan to deploy an advanced missile defence system in South Korea.
It has carried out repeated launches in recent months.
The US Strategic Command said two missiles had been fired simultaneously on Wednesday and that one exploded immediately after launch.
‘Ambition to attack’
Wednesday’s missile flight is believed to be the longest yet for a North Korean test.
The launch showed the North’s “ambition to attack neighbouring countries”, an official at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. He added that the missile appeared to have been a medium-range Rodong.
The Japanese defence ministry said the missile landed inside its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the 200-nautical mile of ocean around a country over which it has jurisdiction.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it posed a grave threat to Japan’s security, calling it an “unforgiveable act of violence”. He said Tokyo had protested strongly against it.
The US similarly condemned the launch.
“We remain prepared to work to respond to further DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] provocations, as well as to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation,” said State Department spokeswoman Anna Richey-Allen.
In June, after what appeared to be several failed launches, North Korea sent a mid-range missile more than 1,400km into the atmosphere, indicating it had made progress in its abilities to strike US targets in the region, according to analysts.
In July, North Korea fired three ballistic missiles into the sea, saying it was a simulated strike on the South.
Local media reports say South Korean officials believe the North is preparing to conduct a fifth test of a nuclear weapon.
But North Korea is not yet believed to have the ability to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile to make a deliverable weapon. – BBC
Outrageous, says Japan
AFP adds: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday condemned a North Korean test missile that landed 250 kilometres (155 miles) off Japan’s coast as an “outrageous act” which threatened his country.
“It’s a serious threat against our country’s security,” Abe told reporters. “This is an outrageous act that cannot be tolerated.”
Defence minister Gen Nakatani said the missile landed in the Sea of Japan off the north coast in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) — the first time a North Korean missile has landed in Japan’s EEZ since 1998.
It was the first ever North Korean missile to land in Japan’s EEZ in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) facing the Korean peninsula. The North Korean missile in 1998 landed in Japan’s EEZ in the Pacific Ocean after having flown over the country’s territory.
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government’s top spokesman, also harshly criticised the launch.
“There was no early warning,” he told reporters.
“From the perspective of the safety of aircraft and ships, it is an extremely problematic, dangerous act,” he added.
“We immediately launched a strong protest against North Korea and condemned (the launch) in the strongest language” through diplomatic channels, he said.
US to defent itself, allies
The United States issued a stern warning Tuesday that it was prepared to “defend ourselves and our allies” after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile towards the Sea of Japan.
“We are aware of reports that the DPRK (North Korea) fired ballistic missiles,” said State Department spokeswoman Anna Richey-Allen, noting that Washington strongly condemned this and other recent tests.
“We remain prepared to work with our allies and partners around the world to respond to further DPRK provocations, as well as to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation.”
Richey-Allen said the US commitment to defending allies like South Korea and Japan remains “ironclad.” The United States plans to rally against Pyongyang’s latest test at the United Nations.
“We intend to raise our concerns at the UN to bolster international resolve in holding the DPRK accountable for these provocative actions,” the spokeswoman added.
Tuesday’s test was an apparent show of force against the planned deployment of a US missile defence system and comes ahead of a US-South Korea joint military exercise scheduled for later this month.
Last week, North Korea’s newly appointed foreign minister, Ri Yong-Ho, said any decision to conduct another nuclear test would depend on the behavior of the United States. His comments came after top Washington envoy John Kerry warned the North of “real consequences” if it continues nuclear and missile tests in defiance of UN sanctions, as the international community attempts to rein in the rogue nation.
The test follows the launch of three ballistic missiles on July 19 in what the North said were simulated nuclear strikes on the South.
Pyongyang has repeatedly warned of pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the South and US targets, although the main focus of its nuclear weapons program is to develop a credible strike threat against the US mainland.
The UN Security Council has slapped North Korea with its toughest sanctions to date in a unanimous decision even endorsed by China, its economic lifeline and diplomatic shield.

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