Friday, September 15, 2017

North Korea Fires Second Missile Over Japan As US Tells China And Russia To Take 'Direct Action'

The U.S. Pacific Command acknowledged Thursday night that it detected and tracked a North Korean ballistic missile launch shortly before noon Hawaii time on Thursday, Cmdr. Dave Benham, spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, told USA TODAY via e-mail.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said the missile did not pose a threat to North America, and U.S. Pacific Command determined it did not pose a threat to the U.S. territory of Guam, according to Benham.

"Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad," Benham said. "We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation."

In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the missile launch would "only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation," and he called on China and Russia to take further measures against the Kim regime.

"China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor. China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own," he said.

The United Nations Security Council will meet Friday at 3 p.m. ET in response to thee launch, Reuters reported, citing diplomats.

The Japanese government will hold a national security council meeting on the missile launch Friday morning. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has also scheduled a National Security Council meeting to discuss the launch.

South Korea is analyzing the reports of the missile launch, BBC reported, crediting the Yonhap news agency.

The United States also is studying the reports, Benham of U.S. Pacific Command said.

The launch over Japan comes one day after North Korea threatened to use weapons to "sink" Japan and turn the United States to "ashes and darkness."

"The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche," the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, North Korea's official propaganda arm, said in a statement. "Japan is no longer needed to exist near us," the statement read.

Juche, which translates as "self-reliance," is North Korea's ruling ideology, a mix of Marxism and hyper-nationalism.

Japan's top government spokesman said Thursday that a North Korean threat to sink Japan with a nuclear bomb is 'extremely provocative and outrageous.' Time

On September 3, North Korea conducted a test of a nuclear device, its sixth and most powerful ever. The government called the test a “perfect success,” and claimed the device was a hydrogen bomb capable of being mounted on a long-range missile.

Friday’s missile test comes days after the United Nations Security Council stepped up sanctions against North Korea. The U.S.-drafted sanctions, approved on Monday, restrict crude oil imports and impose a ban on textile exports. In response, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, Han Tae Song, warned at U.N. conference in Geneva that the United States will “suffer the greatest pain it has ever experienced in its history.”

North Korean state news agency KCNA said in a statement on Thursday that the U.S. should be “beaten to death” over the sanctions and that Japan “should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb.”

The earlier developments prompted a series of counter threats from President Trump.

A North Korean missile launch over Japan in late August traveled 1,700 miles and reached a maximum height of 341 miles as it traveled over the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

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