North Korea has fired another ballistic missile towards the sea. South Korea reports this. Japan issued a warning to residents of the northern island of Hokkaido that the missile could strike nearby. Aircraft and ships in the region also received a warning. Shortly afterwards it became clear that the missile had ended up in the sea.
It is the latest in a series of missile tests North Korea has conducted this year. Pyongyang says the tests are in response to joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States. Pyongyang says the exercises are intended to prepare for an attack on North Korea. South Korea and the US dispute that and say that these are exercises of a defensive nature.
Earlier this week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country wants to accelerate its nuclear deterrence. The nuclear program must be “more pragmatic and offensive,” state broadcaster Kim Jong-un quoted.
In October last year, Japan also issued a warning about a North Korean missile. It then flew over the land and ended up in the Pacific Ocean. It was probably a warning to the United States that the country is able to reach the American island of Guam with a missile.
Japan has been using a nationwide warning system for North Korean missiles since last year. The system already existed, but has only been used for the missiles since last year. The system has been around since 2007, was rolled out nationwide in 2013, and was used again last year for the first time in five years because of a North Korean missile.
The United States has strongly condemned North Korea’s missile test. A spokesman for the National Security Council says diplomacy is still possible, “but Pyongyang must immediately stop its destabilizing actions and instead opt for diplomatic consultation”.
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