One landed really close to the coast of Japan.
North Korea continues to defy the world. This time, the communist country fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan as a way to show the world it will continue its missile program despite sanctions and threats.
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada stated that the missles “landed in waters as close as 300 km (190 miles) to Japan’s northwest coast.”
One Japanese spokesman explained that three of the missiles “landed inside Japan’s Exclusive economic Zone, an area extending about 230 miles out to sea from its coastline.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the test in parliament, saying that North Korea’s “launches are clearly in violation of (UN) Security Council resolutions” and are “an extremely dangerous action.”
South Korea also lashed out at the launches with acting president Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn calling for a “meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Security Council.”
South Korea’s military has a few conflicting reports. One says that the launches “unlikely” included intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). Those missiles could potentially reach the U.S.
But an unnamed South Korean defense military official told Yonhap News agency that the launches “may have included an intercontinental ballistic missile.” From The Wall Street Journal:
If so, the launch would signal dramatic progress by the North toward being able to threaten the continental U.S. It would also likely ratchet up tensions between North Korea, its neighbors, and the U.S.
“The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America,” said Cmdr. Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman.
In his New Year address in January, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un warned that the country was completing preparations for a test launch of an ICBM.
North Korea warned “strong retaliatory measures” when South Korea and the U.S. militaries “began annual joint military drills on Wednesday that test their defensive readiness against possible aggression from the North.” From Reuters:
North Korea criticizes the annual drills, calling them preparation for war. It has previously conducted missiles launches timed to the joint military exercises.
Last year, North Korea fired a long-range rocket from Tongchang-ri that put an object into orbit. The launch was condemned by the United Nations for violating resolutions that ban the use of ballistic missile technology.
North Korea test fired a new type of missile into the sea early last month, and has said it will continue to launch new strategic weapons.
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