The North Koreans are it again, test firing a Scud-type ballistic missile that successfully launched and landed in the Sea of Japan off Korea’s east coast. This was the latest in a series of missile tests that the reclusive, belligerent nation has conducted in recent weeks.

This latest test unleashed a protest from Japan who stated that the missile landed in their exclusive economic zone. President Trump, returning from a weeklong trip overseas was briefed on the situation. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis spoke on television about the latest developments and was asked what a conflict in Korea would be like answering, “probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes”.

The missile was believed to be a Scud-class ballistic missile and flew about 450 km (280 miles), South Korean officials said. North Korea has a large stockpile of the short-range missiles, originally developed by the Soviet Union.

Monday’s launch followed two successful tests of medium- to long-range missiles in as many weeks by the North, which has been conducting such tests at an unprecedented pace in an effort to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the mainland United States.

North Korea likely showing its determination to push ahead in the face of international pressure to rein in its missile program and “to pressure the (South Korean) government to change its policy on the North”, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said.

It was the third ballistic missile test-launch since South Korea’s liberal President Moon Jae-in took office on May 10 pledging to engage with the reclusive neighbor in dialogue.

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The Russians called for restraint in the area while Pyongyang’s protector, China, in a statement to the UN’s Security Council that the council’s resolutions had ‘clear rules’ and urged the North Korean government to follow them.

In a statement from the Foreign Ministry, China stated, “The situation on the Korean peninsula is complex and sensitive, and we hope all relevant sides maintain calm and exercise restraint, ease the tense situation as soon as possible and put the issue back on the correct track of peaceful dialogue.”

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Photo courtesy BBC