Tensions have escalated after North Korea launched yet another missile over Japan just hours ago. This missile flew directly over Japanese territory and has put at risk any chance of friendly relations in the area.
The launch reportedly came from Sunan, the NK international airport, and traveled further than any of the launches to date. The difference this time around is in the reaction by affected countries. After the first missile launch just weeks ago, South Korea offered to reinstate financial aid programs that it had withdrawn in 2016; and Japan had offered to send a delegation to Pyongyang to discuss issues. But this latest act of aggression has brought about a far more serious response.
Japan’s Stark Warning
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has issued a very stark and serious warning to the North Korean leadership. He said:
“The UN resolution showed the international community’s unified strong will for a peaceful solution. But despite that, North Korea has again carried out this outrageous conduct. It is absolutely unacceptable. We request an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. Global peace is threatened by North Korea’s dangerous provocations.”
“If North Korea continues to walk this road, there will be no bright future. We need to get North Korea to understand that.”
South Korea Launches Retaliation
In response to the launch, South Korea launched two missiles of its own to show that they can react with speed and accuracy. In what’s known as a Live Fire Drill, the missiles were launched whilst the North Korean rocket was still in flight.
The first missile landed in the water the exact distance of the launch site to Pyongyang, demonstrating that they could easily retaliate with a direct strike. The second missile failed and fell into the water.
The US Reaction
The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has condemned North Koreas actions saying that new measures need to be taken against the regime that includes far more prominent actions from China and Russia:
“North Korea’s provocative missile launch represents the second time the people of Japan, a treaty ally of the United States, have been directly threatened in recent weeks. These continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation.”
“United Nations security council resolutions, including the most recent unanimous sanctions resolution, represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take. We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim regime.”
“China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor. China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own.”
The official actions to be taken by the White House have not yet been released and President Trump has yet to make an official announcement.