Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has warned that “all options are on the table” after North Korea launched a missile over Japan on Tuesday.
The missile was fired just before 6 a.m. in Japan, where the launch set off warnings in the northern part of the country urging people to seek shelter, CNN reported.
“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear,” Trump said in a statement.
“This regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also denounced Tuesday’s launch, saying it represented a “most serious and grave” threat.
The unidentified missile flew over Erimomisaki, on the northern island of Hokkaido, and broke into three pieces before falling into the Pacific Ocean, about 1,180 km (733 miles) off the Japanese coast.
The missile was in flight for about 15 minutes, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at an emergency press conference. “There is no immediate report of the fallen objects and no damage to the ships and aircraft,” he added.
Tuesday’s launch is the first time North Korea has successfully fired a ballistic missile over Japan. Various stages of launch vehicles have overflown Japan during Pyongang’s attempts to launch satellites into space in 1998, 2009, 2012 and 2016.
This is the fourth missile North Korea has fired in four days — Pyongyang tested three short-range ballistic missiles, one of which failed, from Kangwon province that landed in water off the Korean Peninsula.
This time, the missile was launched near the capital of Pyongyang, a move CNN’s Will Ripley, who is reporting from Pyongyang, says is rare and “highly provocative”.
The test shows the mobility of North Korea’s arsenal, and may have been intended to deliver a message that pre-emptive US strikes on missile launch facilities could land uncomfortably close to civilians, Ripley said.
North Korea has launched missiles from various positions across the country in recent months, and it possesses trucks that have been converted into transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) — vehicles for quickly deploying and launching missiles — including some from China.
It also is developing missiles that use solid fuel, which are much quicker to deploy than their liquid-fueled counterparts.
Ripley said that as of about 6 p.m. Pyongyang time, the news had not been broadcast to people inside North Korea.
Soon after the launch, Abe called it a “unprecedented serious and grave threat to Japan” that “significantly undermines the peace and security of the region.”
The Japanese leader said he spoke with US President Trump for 40 minutes.
“Japan and the US completely agreed that an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council should be held immediately and increase the pressure towards North Korea.”
Trump reiterated that the US “stands with Japan 100 per cent,” Abe said.
While the missile flew over Japanese territory, one analyst said it wasn’t necessarily intended as a threat to Japan.
“If they’re going to launch to a distance they’ve got to go over somebody. It looks to me like a risk reduction measure, they want to reduce the populated areas they fly over just in case anything goes wrong,” said Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.