Early Tuesday morning local time, North Korea shot a missile over Japan, which broke apart and landed near Japan’s Hokkaido island in the Pacific Ocean.
President Donald Trump has warned North Korea that all options are now on the table.
From Fox News:
“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior,” Trump said, in a written statement released by the White House.
“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table,” the statement continued.
Trump spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Abe after incident. From The Guardian:
The Japanese prime minister denounced the launch as an “unprecedented and grave threat” to the country’s security. In a 40-minute phone call with the US president they agreed to call for an emergency meeting of the UN security council to discuss the situation.
Trump said the US was “100% with Japan” and repeated his strong commitment to the defence of Japan, Abe said shortly after the call.
“The outrageous act of firing a missile over our country is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat and greatly damages regional peace and security,” Abe told reporters in Tokyo, adding that his government had protested to Pyongyang via the Japanese embassy in Beijing.
The Pentagon confirmed the launch last night:
“We assess North Korea conducted a missile launch within the last 90 minutes,” Col. Rob Manning, director of press operations at the Department of Defense, said Monday evening in a statement. “We can confirm that the missile launch by North Korea flew over Japan. We are in the process of assessing this launch.
“North American Aerospsace Defense Command, or NORAD, determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America. We are working closely with Pacific Command, Strategic Command, and NORAD, and we’ll provide an update as soon as possible,” Manning added.
— Hiroko Tabuchi (@HirokoTabuchi) August 28, 2017
Others have joined to condemn the missile launch, including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, German foreign minister, and Poland.
As Olivier Knox at Yahoo! News points out, Trump’s statement implies that China is losing face. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull even said that China needs “to ratchet up the pressure.” China is North Korea’s closest ally, which is why Turnball reminded China that “with unique leverage comes unique responsibility.”
China has instead urged restraint from all sides:
China called for restraint and warned that the situation on the Korean peninsula had reached “a tipping point approaching a crisis”.
The foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily press briefing in Beijing: “Think hard about it, who do you think should take the blame, if China is urging all parties to calm down while one party holds constant military exercises … and the other is constantly launching missiles?”
Well, as North Korea keeps up the pressure, South Korea has become more concerned over its security, to the surprise of no one. The U.S. and South Korea insist that the drills are defensive, nothing more than that.
South Korea recently elected liberal Moon Jae-in on the basis that the country would use communication as a way to lessen the tensions with North Korea. The president stressed that South Korea has “no intension of raising military tensions on the Korean Peninsula” and that the hermit kingdom “should not use this as a pretext for provocation.”
Moon Jae-in has also expressed to the U.S. he doesn’t want military action. From The New York Times:
Mr. Moon also stressed his opposition to military action against North Korea to a visiting American congressional delegation. “Even a very limited military option would eventually lead to an armed clash between South and North Korea,” Mr. Moon’s office quoted him as telling the delegation, led by Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts. “This would endanger the lives of many foreigners in South Korea, including American servicemen, as well as South Koreans.”
However, only hours after the launch, South Korea conducted a bombing drill to test the country’s “capability to destroy the North Korean leadership.” CNN continued:
Yoon Young-chan, the head of South Korea’s Presidential Public Affairs Office, told reporters that four F-15K fighter jets dropped eight one-ton MK-84 bombs at a shooting range.
The operation was meant “to showcase a strong punishment capability against the North,” he said.
“We are fully ready to counter any threat from North Korea and will make unwavering efforts to protect the lives of our people and the security of our nation,” South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said.
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