After its nuclear bomb test less than two weeks ago, the furious North Korea has fired a ballistic missile across Japan on Friday creating new tension in the region.
According to South Korean military, the missile reached an altitude of about 770km (478 miles), travelling 3,700km before landing in the sea off Hokkaido.
People living in regions near the missile flight path in Hokkaido received two text alerts on Friday morning, the first warning them to seek shelter, and the second giving an all-clear.
The first, at 7am local time (10pm Thursday GMT), read:
Missile launched. Missile launched. It seems that the missile has been launched from North Korea. Please evacuate to a building with strong structure or go to the basement.
The second, which came seven minutes later, read:
Missile passed. Missile passed. It seems that the missile has passed Hokkaido area and landed in the Pacific Ocean. If you find anything suspicious, please don’t go close to it. Report it to the police and firefighters.
Under leader Kim Jong-Un, the North has raised tensions in the region with its rapid progress in weapons technology.
Its last missile launch, a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile just over two weeks ago, also overflew Japan sparking emergency sirens and text alerts, before coming down in the Pacific Ocean.
This time, it flew higher and further than one fired over Japan late last month.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country would “never tolerate” such “dangerous provocative action”. He also slammed the launch as “utterly unacceptable”:
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 responded within minutes by firing two ballistic missiles into the sea in a simulated strike on the North.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also condemned the launch and the UN Security Council will meet at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) on Friday on the latest North Korea missile test, diplomats said, at the request of the United States and Japan.
“Initial assessment indicates the launch of an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM),” the US Pacific Command said in a statement.
“The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined this ballistic missile did not pose a threat to North America,” it said. “US Pacific Command determined this ballistic missile did not pose a threat to Guam.”
In an attempt to starve the North of fuel and income for its weapons programmes, the 15-member Security Council unanimously voted to restrict crude oil imports and ban textile exports. It was the ninth UN sanctions resolution adopted on North Korea since 2006.
The next step will almost certainly be a test of the Hwasong-14 ICBM over Japan and far out into the Pacific.
The aim of all this is to develop and deploy a reliable missile that can hit the mainland US. Even their nuclear test side mountains can collapse anytime.
What North Korea will gain by doing all these? What is your opinion on North Korea’s second missile launch over Japan? Share us in the comments.