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US confirms North Korea fired inter-continental ballistic missile at Japan

A week after US President Trump put North Korea back on list of countries that Washington says support terrorism; North Korea fired ICBM targeting Japan

On Tuesday, a week after president Donald Trump put North Korea back on a US list of countries that Washington says support terrorism, North Korea launched a missile which US Pentagon estimated reached higher to any previous one.

North Korea denounced Trump’s decision calling it a “serious provocation and violent infringement.”

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The missile flew for about 50 minutes, around 960km at altitude of 4,500km. It landed close to Japan. The missile on Aug. 29 over Japan was airborne for 14 minutes.

This is North Korea‘s first missile launch since it fired a missile over its neighbor in mid-September.

The newly developed inter-continental ballistic missile Hwasong-15 (ICBM) was fired from Sain Ni, a city in South Pyongan Province.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the missile reached an estimated altitude of 4,000 kilometers and broke up before landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. He said it was judged to be ICBM class given the missile’s lofted trajectory.

North Korea launches missile over Japan; Trump and Abe vow to increase pressure on Pyongyang


The missile did not pose a threat to the United States its territories or allies, the Pentagon said. President Trump referred to the launch as a situation that will be handled.

South Korea’s Chiefs of Staff said that minutes after the North fired the missile, South Korea’s military conducted a missile-firing test in response.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzu Abe convened the country’s Security Council in response to North Korea’s actions.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported three projectiles were fired, the nearest landing 210 kilometers west of Japan’s northern mainland, suggesting the missile broke into pieces.

Trump has traded insults and threats with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and warned in his maiden speech to the United Nations in September that the United States would have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.

Washington has said repeatedly that all options are on the table in dealing with North Korea, including military ones, but that it prefers a peaceful solution by Pyongyang agreeing to give up its nuclear and missile programs.

To this end, Trump has pursued a policy of encouraging countries around the world, including North Korea’s main ally and neighbor, China, to step up sanctions on Pyongyang to persuade it to give up its weapons programs.

North Korea has given no indication it is willing to re-enter dialogue on those terms.

North Korea defends its weapons programs as a necessary defense against US plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, denies any such intention.

Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at Washington’s conservative Center for the National Interest, said he thought North Korea might hold off on missile testing until about the time of the Winter Olympics, which South Korea is hosting next February, but added that North Korea had to keep testing to refine its weapons program.

“I am surprised, but not shocked,” he said. “North Korea tested two missiles in the fourth quarter last year and will have to continue to test its missile capabilities for years to come if it wants a nuclear deterrent that can hit the US.”

By Ynet News, Reuters, and Staff



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