Home International Politics North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan in Major Escalation

North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan in Major Escalation


North Korea on Tuesday fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in five years, prompting a rare warning by the Japanese government for residents in two northern prefectures to seek shelter.

The intermediate-range missile travelled about 4,500km (2,800 miles) before falling into the Pacific Ocean – far enough to hit the US island of Guam if it took another trajectory. It is the first North Korean missile launch over Japan since 2017.


The intermediate-range missile was fired from Mupyong-ri, near North Korea’s central border with China, according to the South Korean military. It was launched at 7:22 a.m. and landed in the Pacific Ocean 22 minutes later, Japan’s chief cabinet minister, Hirokazu Matsuno, said. It crashed about 1,864 miles — or 3,000 kilometers — east of the archipelago, outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from its shores.

Pyongyang has conducted a series of recent launches around military drills held by the United States and South Korea, which it considers a rehearsal for invasion. The US and South Korea, which staged its own show of advanced weaponry on Saturday to mark its Armed Forces Day, say the exercises are defensive in nature.

People in the north of Japan, including Hokkaido island and Aomori city, reportedly woke up to the noise of sirens and text alerts which read: “North Korea appears to have launched a missile. Please evacuate into buildings or underground.”

North Korea has insisted that it was building a nuclear arsenal for self-defense, accusing the United States and its allies of plotting to invade the isolated country. In a speech to Parliament last month, Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader, said his country would never give up its nuclear weapons “as long as the United States and its vassal forces refuse to stop their anti-D.P.R.K. maneuverings.” (D.P.R.K. stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.)

For months, Washington and Seoul have warned that North Korea was preparing for another nuclear test at Punggye-ri, where the North has conducted all of its six previous underground nuclear tests. Under multiple resolutions by the United Nations Security Council, North Korea is banned from developing or testing ballistic missiles, as well as nuclear weapons.

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