by WorldTribune Staff, September 15, 2017
For the second time in less than a month, North Korea launched an intermediate-range missile that flew over Japan.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference that the missile was launched on Sept. 15 at around 6:57 a.m. and went down at around 7:16 a.m. about 2,200 kilometers (1,367 miles) east of Cape Erimo.
Suga said the missile, which reached a maximum altitude of 800 kilometers, flew a total of 3,700 kilometers, the farthest a North Korean missile has ever flown.
“The range of this test was significant since North Korea demonstrated that it could reach Guam with this missile, although the payload the missile was carrying is not known,” David Wright, co-director of the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists said in a statement.
Wright added that the missile is likely still in the early stages of development and its accuracy was low. It would be difficult for Pyongyang to use the missile in an attempt to target Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base, which hosts U.S. heavy bombers, Wright said.
The launch triggered Japan’s J-Alert warning system, which advised people in 11 prefectures and Hokkaido to take precautions.
“We didn’t intercept it because no damage to Japanese territory was expected,” Suga said, adding that Japan condemned the missile launch in the “strongest words possible.”
The Japan Times noted in a Sept. 15 report that some analysts “have cast doubt over whether Japan even has the capabilities to shoot down such a fast-moving, high-flying missile.”
Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Pyongyang’s latest missile launch “has again made it clear that (UN) resolutions calling for sanctions should be completely implemented. We need to have North Korea understand that they will have no bright future if they keep going this way.”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that “North Korea’s provocative missile launch represents the second time the people of Japan, a treaty ally of the United States, have been directly threatened in recent weeks. These continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation.”
Tillerson said that sanctions on the Kim Jong-Un regime passed by the UN Security Council this week “represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take. We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim regime.”
Tillerson noted that “China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor. China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own.”
South Korea, in response to Pyongyang’s launch, test-launched two Hyunmoo-II missiles, with one failing and the other “accurately” hitting a simulated target in the Sea of Japan about 250 kilometers away, which is roughly the same distance to Sunan airport, the “origin of provocation,” Yonhap reported.