N. Korea sends missile soaring over Japan

North Korea’s hypersonic missile

North Korea's hypersonic missile

North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in five years on Tuesday, prompting Japan to issue evacuation alerts.

Japan also halted rail operations during the flight of the nuclear-capable bomb, which could reach the US territory of Guam and maybe further.

According to some observers, the launch was North Korea’s most provocative military show this year as it pushes up missile tests to construct a full-fledged nuclear arsenal capable of threatening US allies and the American homeland in order to gain foreign concessions.

Although the North had previously fired other potentially longer-range missiles at high angles to avoid neighbouring nations, the missile’s projected 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) flight was the longest by any North Korean missile.

The firing of what it called a “long-range ballistic missile” over Japan was severely denounced by the United States as a “dangerous and reckless decision” by North Korea.

Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said in a statement that “the United States will continue its efforts to constrain (North Korea’s) capacity to advance its illegal ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs, including with friends and U.N. partners.”

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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol previously stated that the missile had an intermediate range, but Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada stated that it was likely to have an intermediate or longer range.

Some experts believe that if Tuesday’s launch includes a long-range missile, it may be a test of a weapon aimed against the US homeland.

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

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile was fired from the inland north in North Korea. It warned the North’s repeated missile launches would only deepen its international isolation and prompt Seoul and Washington to bolster their deterrence capacities.

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


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