North Korea fired a long-range ballistic missile over Japan, evoking international condemnation.
The unprovoked surprise launch Tuesday morning did not cause any harm, and the missile fell into the Pacific Ocean, reports said.
The missile reportedly covered 4,600 kilometers – a distance enough to target the American island of Guam in the Pacific.
This marks Pyongyang’s first missile launch over Japan in five years, which is banned by the UN.
Local authorities issued an alert for residents in the north of Japan, including Hokkaido island and Aomori city, to remain indoors or evacuate into underground, and to look out for falling debris.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida described the launch as “violent behavior.” Defense minister Yasukazu Hamada said Japan would not rule out any options to strengthen its defenses including “counterattack capabilities”.
The United States strongly condemned the “dangerous and reckless decision” to launch a long-range ballistic missile over Japan. “This action is destabilizing and shows the DPRK’s blatant disregard for United Nations Security Council resolutions and international safety norms,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement.
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts, Akiba Takeo and Kim Sung-han, respectively.
In both calls, the National Security Advisors consulted on “appropriate and robust joint and international responses,” the White House said.
Jake Sullivan reinforced the United States’ ironclad commitments to the defense of Japan and South Korea.
“The United States will continue its efforts to limit the DPRK’s ability to advance its prohibited ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs, including with allies and UN partners,” Watson said.
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