North Korean ICBM lands in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, PM says | North Korea


Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has condemned North Korea for firing a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday that landed within his country’s exclusive economic zone.

The missile, which a Japanese minister said had the potential range to reach the US, landed about 200 km (124 miles) west of Oshima-Oshima island in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido. There were no reports of damage to ships or aircraft.

“We naturally lodged a strong protest against North Korea, which has repeated its provocations with unprecedented frequency,” Kishida told reporters in Thailand, where he is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting. His remarks were televised live in Japan.

“We have told (Pyongyang) that we absolutely cannot tolerate such actions,” Kishida said. “Japan, the US and South Korea must coordinate closely to work toward the complete denuclearisation of North Korea.”

The launch came a day after North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile while warning of “fiercer military responses” to US efforts to boost its security presence in the region with its allies, saying Washington was taking a “gamble it will regret”.

Japan’s defence ministry said in a statement on Friday that: “North Korea launched an ICBM-class ballistic missile from near the western coast of the Korean Peninsula at around 10.14 (0114 GMT) today.”

Japan’s defence minister, Yasukazu Hamada, said the missile had sufficient range to reach the United States mainland, and was capable of flying as far as 15,000 km (9,320 miles).

The projectile reached an altitude of 6,000 km (3,730 miles), covering a range of 1,000 km (622 miles) on a lofted trajectory, Hirokazu Matsuno, the chief cabinet secretary, had said earlier.

South Korea’s National Security Council met Friday to discuss the presumed ICBM launch, the presidential office said.

The launch was North Korea’s second ICBM test this month. Outside experts said that an ICBM launched by North Korea on 3 November failed mid-flight.

That test was believed to have involved a new type of developmental ICBM.

North Korea has two other types of ICBM — Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 and their test-launches in 2017 proved they could potentially reach parts of the US mainland.

This year North Korea has conducted a record number of such tests, which are banned by UN security council resolutions that have sanctioned the country over its missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

The North also fired hundreds of artillery shells into the sea recently as South Korea and the US staged exercises, some of which involved Japan.

The country had halted weapons launches for about a week before Thursday’s test, which was preceded by the North’s foreign minister, Choe Son-hui, threatened “fiercer” military responses.

Choe was referring to US president Joe Biden’s recent trilateral summit with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of a regional gathering in Cambodia.

In their joint statement, the three leaders strongly condemned North Korea’s recent missile tests and agreed to work together to strengthen deterrence. Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to defend South Korea and Japan with a full range of capabilities, including its nuclear arms.

On Thursday evening Kishida said he had expressed “serious concerns” to Chinese President Xi Jinping on security issues including North Korea after the two leaders held their first face-to-face talks.

“On North Korea, I expressed our expectation that China will play a role, including in the UN security council,”

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