North Korea has once again ruffled the feathers of world leaders with a ballistic missile test, this time, passing directly over Japan’s northern most Home Island, Hokkaido. The missile then broke up into three parts, the furthest reaching portion flying another 733 miles past the Japanese coast.
Although no damage occurred, the Japanese population experienced an extremely tense few minutes, as sirens and alerts notified the northern population of the nation to seek shelter as the missile flew overhead. Japanese and U.S. assets are said to have tracked the missile from its launch, and verified that it did not pose a threat to allied or American targets, per a statement released by the Department of Defense.
This launch was the second in less than a week, with the volley of three missiles initially reported as a failure by the Pentagon, though subsequent reports have indicated that the missiles may have functioned properly, and crashed into the sea, which South Korean defense officials also substantiate.
The missile tested yesterday was unlike previous ballistic missile tests fielded by Kim Jong Un’s North Korean regime, but not dissimilar from the platform North Korea attempted to use in an ill-fated attempt at launching a satellite into orbit, as reported by SOFREP the day of the launch.
“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.”
President Trump isn’t the only world leader to speak out against North Korea’s test launch that flew over Japan. In the media, the United States tends to serve as the primary voice of concern regarding North Korean aggression, while China and Russia provide counter-claims blaming the American military presence on and around the Korean peninsula for continued hostility. This time, however, more nations are joining in the chorus of diplomatic damnation levied toward North Korea’s Supreme Leader.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who often responds to test launches by calling on both North Korea and the United States to exercise restraint rather than singling one party out, issued a statement on Sunday calling on Kim Jong un to respect UN resolutions regarding their nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Regarding the launching of the missiles from North Korea, we stick to the resolutions of the United Nations and we insist on the fact that the North Koreans must respect those resolutions from the United Nations,” Lavrov told a news conference while in the United Arab Emirates.
North Korea, on the other hand, doubled down on its claims that its own provocations are the result of America’s aggression, rather than their own. The U.S. and South Korea are currently amid a ten-day period of joint military exercises near the North Korean border. The annual event has drawn more publicity than normal drills held in South Korea because of pressure laid on the U.S. by North Korea and China to postpone or cancel the drills, as North Korea claims they are a “rehearsal” for invasion.
It is an undeniable fact that the U.S. is driving the situation of the Korean peninsula towards an extreme level of explosion by deploying huge strategic assets around the peninsula, by conducting a series of nuclear war drills and maintaining nuclear freeze and blackmail for over half a century,” Han Tae Song, North Korea’s ambassador to the U.N., said.
As is often the case in North Korean rhetoric, Han neglected to acknowledge that the “nuclear war drills” being conducted on and around the Korean peninsula come after months of threats of preemptive nuclear strikes levied by Kim and his regime. Instead Han placed the blame on the United States in a manner that is in keeping with their recent shift in tone intended to paint North Korea as the bullied party, a theme China and Russia have worked to support through political and diplomatic theater.
Now that the U.S. has openly declared its hostile intention towards the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, by waging aggressive joint military exercises despite repeated warnings… my country has every reason to respond with tough counter-measures as an exercise of its right to self defense,” Han continued. “And the U.S. should be wholly responsible for the catastrophic consequences it will entail.”
Image courtesy of North Korea’s KCNA