North Korea proves it CAN hit Guam with fresh missile launch over Japan: Tokyo on nuclear alert as Kim Jong-un fires missile 2,300 miles – 200 miles further than needed to hit US territory.
North Korea has fired another test missile over Japan, leading to global condemnation amid already high tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear warhead tests.
The missile flew over the northern island of Hokkaido, where thousands were awoken by air-raid sirens for the second time in just three weeks, and landed some 1,240 miles off the cape of Erimo just before 7am local time (10pm Thursday GMT).
The rocket, believed to be a intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), flew for about 19 minutes over a distance of about 2,300 miles, according to South Korea’s military – far enough to reach the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, which is 2,100 miles from North Korea.
The missile test was carried out mere hours after North Korea threatened to nuke Japan and reduce the US ‘to ashes and darkness’ in response to the latest sanctions imposed by the UN, which puts a cap on textile exports and import of crude oil.
Japan’s defence minister Itsunori Onodera said Friday he believed North Korea has the U.S. territory in mind with its recent nuclear missile tests. as he warned that ‘similar actions (by the North) would continue’.
‘We cannot assume North Korea’s intention, but given what it has said, I think it has Guam in mind,’ Onodera said.
This morning’s launch was the second aggressive test-flight over Japanese territory in less than a month and it followed the sixth and most powerful nuclear test by North Korea to date on September 3.
Residents on Hokkaido were awoken by sirens and loudspeakers calling out: ‘Missile launch! Missile launch! A missile appears to have been launched from North Korea. Take cover in a building or underground,’ causing widespread panic.
The UN Security Council will meet this evening to discuss the latest North Korea missile test at the request of the US and Japan.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made an early morning statement saying North Korea was ‘trampling’ on international peaceful efforts, saying the UN sanctions needed to be firmly imposed.
He added that the international community must send a clear message to North Korea over its provocative actions.
He said: ‘We can never tolerate that North Korea trampled on the international community’s strong, united resolve toward peace that has been shown in UN resolutions and went ahead again with this outrageous act.’
‘If North Korea continues to walk down this path, it has no bright future. We must make North Korea understand this,’ he added.
A government spokesman said earlier that Japan would ‘never tolerate this repeated provocative action by North Korea,’ adding that the country will make an appropriate response.
‘We have strongly protested to the North, telling them the strong anger by the Japanese people and condemn with the strongest words possible.’
In an immediate response to Friday’s launch, South Korea said its military fired a Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missile into the sea.
The U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis branded North Korea ‘reckless’, but said he did not want to talk about a possible American military response.
The North previously launched a ballistic missile from Sunan on August 29, which flew over Japan’s Hokkaido island and landed in the Pacific.
The South Korean and US militaries are analysing details of the launch, the South’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Friday morning.
Friday’s test followed a strongly worded threat by North Korea to ‘nuke’ Japan and reduce the U.S. to ashes in response to the new UN sanctions which have mainly targeted its fabric trade, as well as put a cap on its oil and fuel allowance.
In a statement released by the North Korean news agency KCNA Thursday, a spokesman for the regime said: ‘The army and people of the DPRK are unanimously demanding that the Yankees, chief culprit in cooking up the ‘sanctions resolution’, be beaten to death as a stick is fit for a rabid dog.
‘There’s limit to patience. Now is the time to annihilate the U.S. imperialist aggressors. Let’s reduce the U.S. mainland into ashes and darkness.
‘Let’s vent our spite with mobilization of all retaliation means which have been prepared till now. These are voices of the Korean army and people.
‘Also heard in the DPRK are strong accusations against the Japs who have zealously joined in the US racket for sanctions.
‘The behaviour of Japs, sworn enemy of the Korean nation, are enraging us. The wicked Japs should not be pardoned…
‘A telling blow should be dealt to them who have not yet come to senses after the launch of our ICBM over the Japanese archipelago.
‘The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche. Japan is no longer needed to exist near us.’
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga called the statement ‘outrageous’, saying it ‘escalates tension in the region and is absolutely unacceptable.’
Seoul’s military carried out a ballistic missile drill of its own yesterday in the East Sea, Korea’s name for the Sea of Japan, the Yonhap news agency reported.
In July, Pyongyang fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles that appeared to bring much of the US mainland into range.
It followed that up with an announcement it was planning to send a salvo of rockets towards the US Pacific territory of Guam, home to significant military facilities.
US President Donald Trump threatened it with ‘fire and fury’, heightening fears of conflict.
The United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed on Monday are the strongest so far, banning the North’s textile trade and imposing restrictions on shipments of oil products, among a series of other measures.
But analysts expect them to do little to dissuade Pyongyang, which says it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself against the threat of invasion by the US.