NEWS

North Korea Fires Another Missile Over Japan As Tensions Mount

15/09/2017 4:17 AM IST | Updated 15/09/2017 7:29 AM IST

North Korea launched an intermediate range missile from Pyongyang over Japan on Thursday, South Korea’s Yonhap News agency reported, the latest in a series of recent provocative actions by the country that also included an underground detonation of a nuclear device. 

The missile reportedly reached an altitude of about 770 km (480 miles) and flew over a distance of about 3,700 km (2,300 miles), the South Korean military said, according to Reuters. The U.S. military announced that it had detected an intermediate range ballistic missile and said the projectile did not pose a threat to North America.

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, swiftly condemned the launch. “These repeated provocations on the part of North Korea are unpermissible and we protest in the strongest words,” he said.

North Korea’s latest action is likely to further escalate tensions with the international community, which has increasingly tried to rein in Kim Jong Un’s regime as it advances its nuclear and missile programs.

The United Nations Security Council announced it would convene an emergency meeting on Friday in response to Thursday’s missile launch. 

It is the second time in a month that North Korea has launched a missile over Japan, the last instance coming in late August.

Pyongyang also conducted its most powerful nuclear detonation to date on Sept. 3, which the regime claimed was a hydrogen bomb.

The Security Council passed new sanctions against the isolated kingdom on Monday, but so far attempts to pressure Pyongyang to halt its weapons tests have failed.

North Korea responded to the “vicious” sanctions by vowing to inflict “the greatest pain” the U.S. has ever suffered. 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned the launch in a statement released Thursday evening. “These continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation,” he warned, adding that the recent U.N. sanctions “represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the action we should take.”

Tillerson also called directly on China and Russia to “indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also urged the international community “to come together and send a clear message to North Korea that it is threatening world peace with its actions.”

Despite years of international pressure, North Korea has made rapid technological advancements in its nuclear and missile capabilities, particularly this year.

President Donald Trump has responded to past North Korea nuclear and missile tests with a series of threats against Pyongyang, including a vow to meet its aggression with “fire and fury.” He has also said he was considering cutting off trade with any country that does business with North Korea.

White House officials have often tried to walk back Trump’s more volatile statements.

The U.S. has been testing missile defense systems throughout the year and, as part of such efforts, in late August shot down an intermediate range ballistic missile near Hawaii. On Sept. 7, the U.S. deployed more missile defense launchers for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, to South Korea amid objections from China.

This is a developing story.

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