Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that North Korea test fired a missile that may have landed within 230 miles of Japan’s coast.
Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, said, citing government officials that the missile was fired shortly before midnight Japan time on Friday.
“We detected a launch of a ballistic missile from North Korea,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Logan said. “We are assessing and will have more information soon.”
Before landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, which stretches some 200 nautical miles from its coast, the North Korean missile flew for about 45 minutes, said Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga. There were no immediate reports of damage from the missile, Suga reported.
North Korea fired “one unidentified projectile” into the East Sea, which is a portion of the Sea of Japan, a South Korean military official told NBC News. The incident was immediately reported to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the military official said.
A spokesman for a top U.S. general told Reuters that after the launch, top U.S. and South Korean military officials met to discuss military options. In order to discuss the commitment of the alliance and military response options, Marine General Joseph Dunford and U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris called South Korean Joint Chief of Staff General Lee Sun-jin.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff that the missile was fired from Jagang province in northern North Korea. an urgent meeting of his national security team was also arranged by the South Korean president, the agency also said.
Indication that nuclear-armed North Korea was preparing for another ballistic missile test were available earlier this week. And to mark Victory Day, a military holiday, the communist nation would launch the test on Thursday, some experts had predicted.
A setback in efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula is represented by the new test.
Pressures to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs are being exerted on North Korea by China, North Korea’s longtime ally.
The capability to send missiles to all of South Korea, Japan, as well as to Guam, is possessed by North Korea currently, experts say. The assumption that the regime also might be capable of striking the U.S. mainland too was indicated by the July 4 test-firing of its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
“In all honesty, we should not be surprised anymore: North Korea is slowly morphing into a nuclear and missile power right before our very eyes,” said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, a think-tank founded by former President Richard Nixon.
A day before the U.S. prepares to conduct a new experimental test of its THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) anti-missile defense system, this latest missile firing by North Korea took place.
The THAAD test would be conducted from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said earlier this week. A notice to mariners issued by the U.S. Coast Guard suggested it would likely take place Saturday evening (Alaska time), even though the missile agency didn’t provide details on the timing.
(Adapted from CNBC)