World War 3: North Korea Fires in to Japan’s Airspace
The Japanese government activated its J-Alert warning system after North Korea fired an unidentified missile early Tuesday morning.
Following Tuesday’s launch and flyby over Japanese territory, the country’s prime minister vowed to do everything in his power to protect his nation.
“We will make utmost efforts to firmly protect the lives of the people,” Shinzo Abe said Tuesday before convening an emergency session on the missile firing, Reuters reports.
Abe also said that Japan had “requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.”
The North Korean missile passed over Japanese territory around 6:06am local time. The Japanese military did not attempt to shoot down the missile but warned people to take precautions, Reuters reports citing local media.
The Japanese government announced the missile fell into the Pacific ocean just 14 minutes after the launch, some 1,180 km east of Hokkaido’s Cape Erimo, the Japan Times reports.
Japan’s atomic facilities suffered no damage, its Nuclear Regulation Authority said. No damage has been reported to ships or aircraft in the region as the missile broke off into three pieces before falling into the water, a NHK report added.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary described Pyongyang’s latest action as a “grave threat.”
“This ballistic missile launch appeared to fly over our territory. It is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat to our nation,” Yoshihide Suga told reporters, according to Reuters.
Suga added that Tokyo will work closely with Washington and Seoul, as well as other regional countries to issue an appropriate response. South Korea’s presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, has already convened a National Security Council (NSC) session to discuss the issue.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning confirmed that the “missile launch by North Korea flew over Japan” and that the US military was assessing its parameters.
“North American Aerospsace Defense Command, or NORAD, determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America. We are working closely with Pacific Command, Strategic Command and NORAD, and we’ll provide an update as soon as possible,” he added, according to ABC news.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Pyongyang fired a “projectile… in the direction of the East Sea (Sea of Japan) at 5:57am,” according to Yonhap.
South Korea’s military also confirmed that the “ballistic missile” launched by Pyongyang flew over Japan.
“It passed through the sky over Japan,” the JCS said. The rocket flew more than 2,700 kilometers at a maximum altitude of around 550 km, South Korea’s military said.
The South Korean government meanwhile “strongly” condemned North Korea’s launch, with Seoul calling on Pyongyang to stop further “provocations”.
“We strongly condemn the North’s yet another provocation,” the government said in a statement, according to Yonhap. “The North should come out to the road toward talks as soon as possible in recognition of the fact that denuclearization is the only way to security and economic development instead of seeking reckless provocations.”
The latest North Korean missile launches coincide with the annual US-South Korean Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises which are set to wrap up on August 31.
The Pentagon previously stated that Pyongyang’s behavior is nothing short of a provocation amid the heightened tensions on the peninsula, after two missiles flew some 250 kilometers before falling into the Sea of Japan Saturday.
“You’re still firing missiles, so that’s a threat. We look at that as a threat,” Manning told reporters, according to Yonhap.
“If you’re asking if those three short-range missiles was less of a threat, the answer is no. It was a provocative action,” Manning added.
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