FILE PHOTO - A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

By Ju-min Park and James Pearson

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Wednesday that landed in or near Japanese-controlled waters for the first time, the latest in a series of launches by the isolated country in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Japan’s Defense Minister Gen Nakatani (C) speaks to the media regarding North Korea’s missile launch, in Tokyo, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 3, 2016. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

The main body of the missile landed in Japan’s economic exclusion zone, a Japanese defense official said, escalating regional tensions that were already high after a series of missile launches this year and the decision by the United States to place a sophisticated anti-missile system in South Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described the launch as a “grave threat” to Japan and said Tokyo “strongly protested”. Japan also said its self-defense force would remain on alert in case of further launches.

A U.S. State Department spokesman condemned the launch, and said it would “only increase the international community’s resolve to counter” North Korea’s actions.

The U.S. Strategic Command said it had detected two missiles, one of which it said exploded immediately after launch.

The missile that landed in the Sea of Japan was launched at about 7:50 a.m. Seoul time (2250 GMT Tuesday) from a region in South Hwanghae province to the southwest of North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The launch showed North Korea’s ambition to “directly and broadly attack neighboring countries and target several places in the Republic of Korea such as ports and airfields”, the South Korean office said, referring to South Korea by its official title.

The missile appeared to be a Rodong-type medium-range missile that flew about 1,000 km (620 miles), it said.

TENSIONS HIGH

The United States will begin large-scale annual drills with its ally South Korea later this month that it bills as defensive in nature and not provocative. North Korea typically protests against the drills, which it says are a rehearsal for invasion.

“The North Koreans seem to have been timing their recent short-range and medium-range missile tests to the weeks ahead of U.S.-South Korean joint exercises,” said Joshua Pollack, editor of the U.S.-based Nonproliferation Review.

“If the allies can exercise their armed forces, so can the North,” he said.

On July 19, North Korea fired three ballistic missiles that flew between 500 km and 600 km (300-360 miles) into the sea off its east coast.

The North later said the launches were part of an exercise simulating preemptive strikes against South Korean ports and airfields used by the U.S. military.

The latest launches follow an agreement last month between South Korea and the United States to deploy an advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in the South.

North Korea had threatened a “physical response” against the deployment decision.

The North came under the latest round of U.N. Security Council sanctions in March after its fourth nuclear test in January and the launch of a long-range rocket the following month.

Tensions have been high on the Korean peninsula since the January nuclear test. The two Koreas remain technically at war under a truce that ended fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War.

(Additional reporting by Jack Kim in Seoul and Nobuhiro Kubo in Tokyo; Editing by Tony Munroe and Paul Tait)

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now. 

Join the Conversation

11 Comments

  1. Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend
    your website, how could i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me a acceptable deal.

    I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear
    idea

  2. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let
    you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why
    but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different
    internet browsers and both show the same results.

  3. Good day! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?

    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on.
    Any tips?

  4. Someone essentially help to make seriously posts I’d
    state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page
    and so far? I amazed with the analysis you made to create this particular publish amazing.

    Wonderful job!

  5. I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post. They are really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too short for starters. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  6. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m experiencing some minor security issues with my latest
    website and I would like to find something more safe.

    Do you have any solutions?

  7. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all. But just imagine if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this website could definitely be one of the most beneficial in its niche. Good blog!

  8. Heya this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *