North Korea reportedly fired a ballistic missile over Japan which landed in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday. This is the first time since 2017 that North Korea fired a missile.
The missile landed in the Western Pacific about 3,200 kilometres east of Japan, Bloomberg quoted officials in Tokyo as saying. Even though no damage was reported, this has escalated the tensions in the region.
Here are the latest updates on the missile launch by North Korea:
The missile was launched by North Korea on Tuesday morning, prompting Japan to issue an alert for its residents. The BBC reported that people in Hokkaido island and Aomori city were woken up by sirens alerting them of the missile launch. The report quoted a text alert as saying, "North Korea appears to have launched a missile. Please evacuate into buildings or underground."
It was for the first time in five years that North Korea did such a test. Back in 2017, North Korea under Kim Jong-Un's rule launched a volley of long-range rockets and even detonated a nuclear bomb. This heightened the tensions between Kim and the US which was being presided over by Donald Trump then.
The Associated Press reported that the flight of the missile was an estimated 4,500 kilometres long, the longest flight by a North Korean missile.
Trains and subways were suspended in the Hokkaido and Aomori regions because of the incident.
US and South Korea condemn missile
Japan has taken strong note of North Korea's action. Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said that Japan "won't rule out any options, including counterattack capabilities".
"In light of this situation, we will continue to examine all options - including so-called 'counterattack capabilities' and not rule out anything as we continue to work to fundamentally strengthen our defence abilities," Hamada was quoted by Reuters.
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the action as "violent behaviour".
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol also warned of a "resolute response" to North Korea's issile action. Yeol's office said North Korea's latest "provocation... clearly violated the universal principles and norms of the United Nations."
The US called the incident dangerous and reckless. A statement by the US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson read, "This action is destabilizing and shows the DPRK's (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) blatant disregard for United Nations Security Council resolutions and international safety norms. Tonight, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with his Japanese and Republic of Korea (ROK) counterparts, Secretary General Akiba Takeo of the National Security Secretariat of Japan and National Security Office Director Kim Sung-han of the ROK."
Why is this a problem?
The BBC reported that the United Nations prohibits North Korea from testing ballistic missiles. Apart from that, missile testing, if gone wrong can endanger the lives of people in the region above which the missile is flying.
Launching missiles without prior warning can also put aviation traffic in danger.
Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at US's James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies told CNN, "For the Japanese especially, it feels like a violation of their sovereignty."
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