The United States and South Korea have condemned North Korea for launching two intermediate-range ballistic missiles from its eastern coast Wednesday morning. The distance covered by the second missile was theoretically over halfway toward southwest coast of Honshu island, Japan, drawing protest from the latter against Pyongyang’s violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution.
The first missile that flew 93 miles is presumed to be a failed launch and the second missile reached nearly 249 miles. The missiles are reported to be Musudan, which can theoretically travel as far as the U.S. territory of Guam in the Western Pacific and have an estimated range between 1,864 miles and 2,485 miles. The tests marked North Korea’s fifth and sixth flight tests of the Musudan since April this year.
“These provocations only serve to increase the international community's resolve to counter the DPRK’s prohibited activities, including through implementing existing U.N. Security Council sanctions,” U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “We intend to raise our concerns at the U.N. to bolster the international resolve in holding the DPRK accountable for these provocative actions.”
Kirby noted that the U.S. was ready to defend itself and its allies in case of any provocation.
“We call on North Korea to refrain from actions that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and international obligations,” he added.
South Korea called the missile launch a clear violation of the United Nations resolutions.
“Relevant U.N. resolutions ban North Korea from using ballistic missile technology. North Korea's missile launches were clearly acts of provocation,” Jeong Joon-hee, a spokesman at Seoul’s unification ministry, said.
Japan said it will coordinate with Washington, Seoul and others following Pyongyang’s latest actions. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the North's activities “simply cannot be tolerated,” according to reports.
Gen Nakatani, Japan’s defense minister, reportedly said that the missile launch did not have any effect on Japan’s security, but called it a “grave provocative action.”
The Kim Jong Un-led regime has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests since the beginning of this year, and the leader has called for the strengthening of the country’s defense capabilities. Pyongyang also claims to have secured intercontinental ballistic missile technologies. The reclusive nation faces strict sanctions from the U.N. Security Council over its fourth nuclear test in January and a rocket launch in February.