North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan early Sunday as U.S President Donald Trump met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida. The test was the first such launch since Trump was sworn into office on Jan. 20.
The Japanese government condemned the launch as a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and said it had issued a strongly worded protest over the test.
“The ballistic missile launch is an extremely problematic act from the viewpoint of securing the safety of aircraft and ships and it is an obvious violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference, adding that the missile appeared not to have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone or to have caused any damage.
Suga said Japan was still analyzing the data.
The type of missile, launched from the Panghyon area in North Korea’s western North Pyongan province at around 7:55 a.m., was not yet identified, the Yonhap news agency quoted South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff as saying in a statement. It flew about 500 km (300 miles), the statement said, adding that it did not appear to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
“Our assessment is that it is part of a show of force in response to the new U.S. administration’s hard-line position against the North,” the JCS statement said, according to Yonhap.
The U.S. military also said it had detected a missile test launch by the North and was assessing it, a U.S. defense official told The Japan Times by email.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in his New Year’s Day address that the country was close to launching an ICBM — remarks widely seen as a veiled threat that the hermit nation was close to mastering the technology needed to strike the continental United States.
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