North Korea today fired an intermediate range ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, the US Pacific Command said, asserting that the launch did not pose a threat to America.
In a statement, United States Pacific Command (PACOM) said it “detected and tracked” what its assets was a single North Korean ballistic missile launch at 11:57 AM (Hawai time).
“Initial assessment indicates the launch of an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM). The launch occurred in the vicinity of Sunan, North Korea and flew east,” said Commander Dave Benham, Director of Media Operation PACOM.
“The ballistic missile overflew the territory of northern Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean east of Japan. We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment and we will provide a public update if warranted,” Benham said.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said the ballistic missile did not pose a threat to North America. It also determined that the missile did not pose a threat to Guam.
“Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad. We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation,” Benham said.
Center for National Interest Director of Defense Studies Harry J Kazianis said North Korea had once again defied the international community with another missile test and once again flying over Japan.
“This launch, or any provocation from North Korea, should not shock us anymore,” he said.
“Kim Jong Un, despite years of sanctions and international pressure, seems committed to the goal of developing a full-fledged nuclear weapons program and is willing to take increasingly dangerous steps to achieve his objective,” Kazianis said.
He said to build out its nuclear deterrent, Pyongyang will continue to test all sorts of different types of missiles and nuclear weapons.
“We should expect many more tests in the months and years to come, and every time, the world will hold its collective breath that such tests do not create a crisis that could result in a shooting war, a war that could be waged with nuclear, chemical or potentially biological weapons,” he said.
Meanwhile, the White House said President Donald Trump has been briefed about the missile launch.
The President has been briefed on the latest North Korea missile launch by General Kelly,” White House spokeswoman Sarah HuckabeeSanders said.
The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on North Korea today. The meeting has been convened at the request of the US and Japan.
North Korea’s latest launch comes after the Security Council imposed an eighth set of sanctions on Pyongyang over its ballistic missile and atomic weapons programme.
UN chief Antonio Guterres has called for a political solution to the current situation on the Korean peninsula, which has worsened in recent months in the wake of a series of ballistic missile and nuclear tests by Pyongyang.
The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously passed a US-drafted resolution that imposes strongest sanctions ever on North Korea, including restricting its oil imports and banning textile exports, to curb the reclusive nation’s nuclear programme.
North Korea has termed the sanctions as “evil” and vowed to accelerate its weapons programme.
On September 3, North Korea conducted its largest nuclear test which the reclusive country said was a hydrogen bomb.