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North Korea Fires Another Ballistic Missile Over Japan

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says dialogue with the North was impossible at this point. He ordered officials to analyze and prepare for possible new North Korean threats, including electromagnetic pulse and biochemical attacks, a spokesman said
People watch a television broadcasting a news report on North Korea firing a missile that flew over Japan’s northern Hokkaido far out into the Pacific Ocean, in Seoul, South Korea on September 15.People watch a television broadcasting a news report on North Korea firing a missile that flew over Japan’s northern Hokkaido far out into the Pacific Ocean, in Seoul, South Korea on September 15.

North Korea fired a second missile over Japan far out into the Pacific Ocean on Friday, South Korean and Japanese officials said, deepening tension after Pyongyang’s recent test of its sixth and most powerful nuclear bomb.

The UN Security Council was to meet at 3 pm EDT (1900 GMT) to discuss the launch just days after its 15 members unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea over its Sept. 3 nuclear test, diplomats said, Reuters reported.

The missile flew over Hokkaido in the north and landed in the Pacific about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) to the east, Japanese chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga said.

It reached an altitude of about 770 km (480 miles) and flew for about 19 minutes over about 3,700 km (2,300 miles), according to South Korea’s military —far enough to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam, which the North has threatened before.

On Aug 29, North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Hwasong-12, which traveled 2,700 km (1,700 miles) over Japan.

 “The range of this test was significant since North Korea demonstrated that it could reach Guam with this missile,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a statement.

But it said the accuracy of the missile, still at an early stage of development, was low.

Warning announcements about the missile blared around 7 am (2200 GMT Thursday) in parts of northern Japan, while many residents received alerts on their mobile phones or saw warnings on TV telling them to seek refuge.

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the launch “put millions of Japanese into duck and cover”, although residents of northern Japan appeared calm and went about their business as normal after the second such launch in less than a month.

Support for US Military Action

The US military said soon after the launch it had detected a single intermediate range ballistic missile but the missile did not pose a threat to North America or Guam, which lies 3,400 km (2,110 miles) from North Korea.

US officials repeated Washington’s “ironclad” commitments to the defense of its allies. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for “new measures” against North Korea and said the “continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation”.

A poll by Gallup Analytics suggested a majority of Americans appeared ready to support military action against North Korea, at least as a last resort. Some 58% said they would favor taking military action if economic and diplomatic efforts failed to achieve US goals.

“This is significantly higher than the 47 percent in favor the last time Gallup asked this, in 2003,” the group said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said dialogue with the North was impossible at this point. He ordered officials to analyze and prepare for possible new North Korean threats, including electromagnetic pulse and biochemical attacks, a spokesman said.

Russia said the missile test was part of a series of unacceptable provocations and that the UN Security Council was united in believing such launches should not be taking place.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned North Korea’s missile launch over Japan and said he would discuss the situation at the United Nations General Assembly’s gathering next week.

“The secretary general calls on the DPRK leadership to cease further testing, comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions, and allow space to explore the resumption of sincere dialogue on denuclearization,” Guterres said in a statement, adding that he would discuss it “with all concerned parties in the margins of the upcoming” UN General Assembly.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said “The prime minister is outraged by North Korea’s continued reckless provocation and she strongly condemns the regime’s illegal tests,”

Dangerous and Reckless

The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

The US dollar fell sharply against the safe-haven yen and Swiss franc in early Asian hours in response to the launch, although losses were quickly pared in very jittery trade.

US President Donald Trump had been briefed on the latest launch, the White House said.

Trump has vowed that North Korea will never be allowed to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile, but has also asked China to do more to rein in its neighbor. China in turn favors an international response to the problem.

“China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own,” Tillerson said.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, denied that China held the key to easing tension on the peninsula and said that duty lay with the parties directly involved.

“Any attempt to wash their hands off the issue is irresponsible and unhelpful for its resolution,” she said, reiterating China’s position that sanctions are only effective if paired with talks.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

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