NEWS: North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan

North Korea has launched a missile over Japan that appears to have been deliberately escalated to attract the attention of Tokyo and Washington

North Korea has launched a mis­sile over Japan that appears to have been delib­er­ate­ly esca­lat­ed to attract the atten­tion of Tokyo and Washington.

The bal­lis­tic mis­sile trav­eled about 4,500 km before falling into the Pacif­ic Ocean, a dis­tance that would have reached the U.S. island of Guam if it had tak­en anoth­er trajectory.

It will be the first time since 2017 that a North Kore­an mis­sile has flown over Japan.

Due to this launch, an evac­u­a­tion advi­so­ry was issued to some cit­i­zens, which is rare in Japan.

The Unit­ed Nations bans North Korea from test­ing bal­lis­tic mis­siles and nuclear weapons. It is also against inter­na­tion­al norms to launch mis­siles at or over oth­er coun­tries with­out pri­or warn­ing or consultation.

Most coun­tries avoid it com­plete­ly because it is eas­i­ly mis­tak­en for an attack. Even if it’s not as large as a nuclear test (which may be next), it’s a very provoca­tive act.

Peo­ple in north­ern Japan, includ­ing Hokkai­do, were awok­en by the sound of sirens and email noti­fi­ca­tions say­ing, “North Korea seems to have launched a mis­sile.” Please evac­u­ate inside the build­ing or underground.”

As the mis­sile passed over the island, it was warned, “Watch out for falling debris.”

The inter­me­di­ate-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile then land­ed in the Pacif­ic Ocean, far from Japan, and no injuries were report­ed, offi­cials said.

The North Kore­an mis­sile reached an alti­tude of about 1,000 km, high­er than the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion, mak­ing it the longest flight ever.

Prime Min­is­ter Fumio Kishi­da called the launch a “vio­lent action” and Defense Min­is­ter Sei­ichi Hama­da said he would not rule out all options for strength­en­ing defense capa­bil­i­ties, includ­ing “coun­ter­at­tack capabilities.”

US Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil spokesman Adri­enne Wat­son said it was a “dan­ger­ous and reck­less deci­sion” to “desta­bi­lize” the region.

The launch comes at a time when Japan, the Unit­ed States, and South Korea are work­ing togeth­er to strength­en their defense capa­bil­i­ties to meet the grow­ing threat from North Korea.

Last week, the three nations held naval exer­cis­es togeth­er for the first time since 2017. These drills have long antag­o­nized Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, whom the ene­my sees as evi­dence that they are prepar­ing for war.

After joint exer­cis­es in 2017, North Korea respond­ed by fir­ing two mis­siles over Japan. A week lat­er, a nuclear test was conducted.

Recent infor­ma­tion sug­gests that North Korea is prepar­ing to con­duct anoth­er nuclear test.

North Korea is expect­ed to wait until its main ally, Chi­na, to hold its Com­mu­nist Par­ty Con­gress lat­er this month.

But some experts think it could come soon­er than expect­ed. They think Tues­day’s launch shows North Korea is lay­ing the ground­work for a nuclear test.

The lat­est mis­sile launch is the fifth in the past week. On Sat­ur­day, two rock­ets land­ed in waters with­in Japan’s exclu­sive eco­nom­ic zone.

Many of North Kore­a’s mis­sile tests take place on flight paths that reach high alti­tudes and avoid fly­ing over neigh­bor­ing countries.

But launch­ing it over Japan will allow North Kore­an sci­en­tists to test the mis­sile in con­di­tions “more rep­re­sen­ta­tive of con­di­tions that would be endured in the real world,” said ana­lyst Ankit Pan­da. told Reuters.

These actions have con­tributed to long-stand­ing ten­sions between North Korea and Japan, root­ed in Japan’s colo­nial rule of the Kore­an Penin­su­la from 1910 to 1945 and past North Kore­an abduc­tions of Japan­ese nationals. .

Ear­li­er this month, North Korea passed a law declar­ing itself a nuclear-weapon state, and Chair­man Kim Jong-un has refused talks on denuclearization.

Between 2006 and 2017, it con­duct­ed six nuclear tests and was sub­ject to numer­ous sanctions.

East Asian nations rou­tine­ly defy bans on nuclear and mis­sile test­ing, say­ing they need to boost their defenses.

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