North Korea has recently increased the level of missile launches. The country has fired missiles four times in the last one week. They fired missiles for the fifth time on Tuesday. This time the missile was fired over Japan, according to the news agency Reuters.
The Japanese government warned citizens to stay safe as the missile appeared to fly over Japanese territory before landing in the Pacific Ocean, Reuters reported. In addition, train services in northern Japan have been temporarily suspended due to the missile launch.
This is the first time a North Korean missile has followed such a path since 2017. Tokyo said the missile had a range of 4,600 kilometers and may have traveled the longest distance ever tested by North Korea.
Such ballistic missiles are mostly launched into space to avoid overflying neighboring countries.
Last week, Japan, South Korea and the United States conducted trilateral anti-submarine warfare drills near the Korean Peninsula in which a US aircraft carrier also took part. This is the first time a US aircraft carrier has visited South Korea since 2017.
But the US has played a relatively silent role in the North’s recent missile tests. Washington is currently focused on the war in Ukraine as well as other domestic and foreign crises. But the US military has also increased its show of force in the region.
Tokyo, on the other hand, said it did not take any action to shoot down the missile. Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Japan would not neglect any alternative means, including counterattack capabilities, to strengthen its defenses in the face of repeated missile launches from North Korea. South Korea has also said it will increase its military strength and alliance cooperation.
The United States strongly condemned North Korea’s actions and said the launch of a long-range ballistic missile over Japan was a ‘dangerous and reckless decision’ by North Korea.
“This move is destabilizing and the DPRK’s flagrant disregard for UN Security Council resolutions and international security norms,” National Security Council spokesman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke by phone with his counterparts in South Korea and Japan. In a phone call, they ‘strongly condemned’ North’s latest test. The launch also violated UN Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.