November 30, 2022
A man watches a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korea firing a ballistic missile over Japan, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, October 4, 2022. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

DPRK Fires Missile over Japan

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It was North Korea’s longest test flight of a missile since 2017

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in five years on Tuesday, prompting a warning for residents to take cover and a temporary suspension of train operations in northern Japan. Air raid sirens were heard over the island nation.

Parade. Hwasong-12 IRBM

The Japanese government warned citizens to take cover as the missile appeared to have flown over and past its territory before falling into the Pacific Ocean.

It was the first North Korean missile to follow such a trajectory since 2017, and Tokyo said its 4,600 km (2,850 miles) range may have been the longest distance travelled for a North Korean test flight, which are more often “lofted” higher into space to avoid flying over neighbouring countries.

Tokyo said it took no steps to shoot the missile down. Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Japan wouldn’t rule out any options, including counterattack capabilities, as it looks to strengthen its defences in the face of repeated missile launches from North Korea. South Korea also said it would boost its military and increase allied cooperation.

The United States said it strongly condemned North Korea’s “dangerous and reckless” decision to launch a long-range ballistic missile over Japan.

Tokyo said it took no steps to shoot the missile down. Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Japan wouldn’t rule out any options, including counterattack capabilities, as it looks to strengthen its defences in the face of repeated missile launches from North Korea. South Korea also said it would boost its military and increase allied cooperation.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called North Korea’s actions “barbaric”, and said the government would continue to gather and analyse information.

The United States said it strongly condemned North Korea’s “dangerous and reckless” decision to launch a long-range ballistic missile over Japan. Officials in Tokyo and Seoul said the missile flew 4,500 to 4,600 kilometres (2,850 miles) to a maximum altitude of about 1,000 km.

The initial flight details suggest the missile may have been the Hwasong-12 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM), which North Korea unveiled in 2017 as part of its threatened plan to strike U.S. military bases in Guam, said Kim Dong-yup, a former South Korea Navy officer who now teaches at Kyungnam University.

The Hwasong-12 was used in 2017 tests that overflew Japan, and Kim noted it was also test fired from Jagang Province in January.

The latest launch was Pyongyang’s fifth in 10 days, amid military muscle-flexing by the United States, South Korea and Japan. Last week, the three countries conducted trilateral anti-submarine exercises that included a U.S. aircraft carrier, which stopped in South Korea for the first time since 2017.

Recent tests have drawn relatively muted responses from Washington, which is focused on the war in Ukraine as well as other domestic and foreign crises, but the U.S. military has stepped up displays of force in the region.

Source Reuters

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