Posts Tagged ‘Hokkaido’

Japan approves introduction of Aegis Ashore missile defense system amid North Korea threat

December 21, 2017


The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday approved the installation of two land-based Aegis Ashore missile defense systems to defend against North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats, highlighted by a test of what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile last month.

The approval will allow the Defense Ministry to buy two Aegis Ashore systems to add to Japan’s current two-step missile defense system consisting of Patriot batteries and Aegis-equipped destroyers.

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 A ballistic missile interceptor is fired from the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex in Kauai, Hawaii, in December 2015. REUTERS

Defense Ministry officials said the government plans to deploy the systems in two places, by 2023 at the earliest, but that the locations are yet to be decided. The cost of each system could be more than ¥100 billion, they said.

Noting that North Korea’s nuclear and missile development poses a “new level of threat” to Japan’s security, the government said in a document endorsed by the Cabinet that Japan needs “to fundamentally improve our ballistic missile defense abilities to protect our country at all times and in a sustainable manner.”

Aegis Ashore, a U.S.-made land-based version of the Aegis combat system developed for warships, is a collection of radars, computers and missiles.

Acquiring Aegis Ashore would protect the entire country, from Hokkaido to Okinawa Prefecture, the government says. The government had also considered a different U.S. system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), but it would require six sites to cover the nation. Aegis Ashore is more cost effective, according to the Defense Ministry.

The new system would reduce the workload of the Self-Defense Forces in preparing for missile intercepts compared with the sea-based operations of Aegis destroyers, according to ministry officials.

To expedite the introduction of Aegis Ashore, the ministry plans to earmark ¥2.8 billion for information-gathering activities in the supplementary budget for the current fiscal year ending in March. It is also seeking ¥730 million in next year’s budget to cover design costs and research fees.

“We cannot say what the final costs will be, but we will move ahead (to introduce Aegis Ashore) on the fastest possible schedule, given public calls that the government should deal as swiftly and urgently as possible with the ballistic missile defense issue,” Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told a news conference on Tuesday.

In the ministry’s initial budgetary request for fiscal 2018 made in August, which came to a record-high ¥5.26 trillion, the ministry said it was seeking funds to introduce a new missile shield system, while leaving the actual sum unspecified.

Japan’s current missile shield comprises two layers. The first is Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers that can stop missiles in the outer atmosphere using the Aegis combat system and Standard Missile-3 interceptors. The second layer is the Air Self-Defense Force’s ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles, designed to counter attacks in the lower atmosphere.

Aegis Ashore, to be equipped with newly developed Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptors, will be an addition to the two layers to defend wider areas, and will be operated by the Ground Self-Defense Force.

The government plans to start selecting areas for the facilities, but the deployment could trigger concern among residents living nearby as the system’s radars emit strong radio waves.

So far, the government is considering Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures as candidate sites, sources said.


Japan Deploys Missile Interceptor Near Recent N. Korean Flight Path

September 19, 2017

TOKYO — Japan is moving a mobile missile-defense system on the northern island of Hokkaido to a base near recent North Korean missile flyover routes.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tuesday that a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor unit is being deployed at the Hakodate base on southern Hokkaido.

The relocation comes days after a North Korean missile was test-fired last week that flew over southern Hokkaido and landing in the Pacific off the island’s east coast — a second flyover in less than a month. The PAC-3 was brought from another base on Hokkaido.

Four others of Japan’s 34 PAC-3 units, largely used to defend the capital region, have been relocated to southwestern Japan recently after Pyongyang warned of sending missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam.

A television broadcast in South Korea last week reporting a North Korean missile launch. Credit Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Defiant North Korea Leader Kim Jong un Says He Will Complete Nuke Program

September 16, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country is nearing its goal of “equilibrium” in military force with the United States, as the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the North’s “highly provocative” ballistic missile launch over Japan on Friday.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency carried Kim’s comments on Saturday — a day after U.S. and South Korean militaries detected the missile launch from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

It traveled 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) as it passed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean. It was the country’s longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile.

The North has confirmed the missile as an intermediate range Hwasong-12, the same model launched over Japan on Aug. 29.

Under Kim’s watch, North Korea has maintained a torrid pace in weapons tests, including its most powerful nuclear test to date on Sept. 3 and two July flight tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

The increasingly frequent and aggressive tests have added to outside fears that the North is closer than ever to building a military arsenal that could viably target the U.S. and its allies in Asia. The tests, which could potentially make launches over Japan an accepted norm, are also seen as North Korea’s attempt to win greater military freedom in the region and raise doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a U.S. city to protect them.


The KCNA said Kim expressed great satisfaction over the launch, which he said verified the “combat efficiency and reliability” of the missile and the success of efforts to increase its power.

While the English version of the report was less straightforward, the Korean version quoted Kim as declaring the missile as operationally ready. He vowed to complete his nuclear weapons program in the face of strengthening international sanctions, the agency said.

Photos published by North Korea’s state media showed the missile being fired from a truck-mounted launcher and a smiling Kim clapping and raising his fist while celebrating from an observation point. It was the first time North Korea showed the missile being launched directly from a vehicle, which experts said indicated confidence about the mobility and reliability of the system. In previous tests, North Korea used trucks to transport and erect the Hwasong-12s, but moved the missiles on separate firing tables before launching them.


The U.N. Security Council accused North Korea of undermining regional peace and security by launching its latest missile over Japan and said its nuclear and missile tests “have caused grave security concerns around the world” and threaten all 193 U.N. member states.

Kim also said the country, despite “limitless” international sanctions, has nearly completed the building of its nuclear weapons force and called for “all-state efforts” to reach the goal and obtain a “capacity for nuclear counterattack the U.S. cannot cope with.”

“As recognized by the whole world, we have made all these achievements despite the U.N. sanctions that have lasted for decades,” the agency quoted Kim as saying.

Kim said the country’s final goal “is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He indicated that more missile tests would be forthcoming, saying that all future drills should be “meaningful and practical ones for increasing the combat power of the nuclear force” to establish an order in the deployment of nuclear warheads for “actual war.”

Prior to the launches over Japan, North Korea had threatened to fire a salvo of Hwasong-12s toward Guam, the U.S. Pacific island territory and military hub the North has called an “advanced base of invasion.”

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The Security Council stressed in a statement after a closed-door emergency meeting that all countries must “fully, comprehensively and immediately” implement all U.N. sanctions.

Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho called the missile launch an “outrageous act” that is not only a threat to Japan’s security but a threat to the whole world.

Bessho and the British, French and Swedish ambassadors demanded that all sanctions be implemented.

Calling the latest launch a “terrible, egregious, illegal, provocative reckless act,” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said North Korea’s largest trading partners and closest links — a clear reference to China — must “demonstrate that they are doing everything in their power to implement the sanctions of the Security Council and to encourage the North Korean regime to change course.”

France’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country is ready to work on tougher U.N. and EU measures to convince Pyongyang that there is no interest in an escalation, and to bring it to the negotiating table.

Friday’s launch followed North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3 in what it described as a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental ICBMs.

The Hwasong-12 and the Hwasong-14 were initially fired at highly lofted angles to reduce their range and avoid neighboring countries. The two Hwasong-12 launches over Japan indicate North Korea is moving toward using angles close to operational to evaluate whether its warheads can survive the harsh conditions of atmospheric re-entry and detonate properly.

While some experts believe North Korea would need to conduct more tests to confirm Hwasong-12’s accuracy and reliability, Kim Jong Un’s latest comments indicate the country would soon move toward mass producing the missiles for operational deployment, said Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies. He also said that the North is likely planning similar test launches of its Hwasong-14 ICBM.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a liberal who initially pushed for talks with North Korea, said its tests currently make dialogue “impossible.”

“If North Korea provokes us or our allies, we have the strength to smash the attempt at an early stage and inflict a level of damage it would be impossible to recover from,” said Moon, who ordered his military to conduct a live-fire ballistic missile drill in response to the North Korean launch.


Lederer reported from the United Nations.

North Korea fires second missile over Japan as US tells China and Russia to take ‘direct action’ – latest news

September 15, 2017

North Korea has fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean.

It was the second aggressive test-flight over the territory of the close US ally in less than a month and it followed the sixth and most powerful nuclear test by North Korea to date on September 3.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile travelled about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) while reaching a maximum height of 770 kilometers (478 miles).

Unnerving alert sirens ring out in Japan in response to North Korea's missile launch
Unnerving alert sirens ring out in Japan in response to North Korea’s missile launch


The missile, launched from Sunan, the site of Pyongyang’s international airport, flew farther than any other missile North Korea has fired. The distance it flew is slightly greater than between the North Korean capital and the American air base in Guam.

It was “the furthest overground any of their ballistic missiles has ever travelled”, Joseph Dempsey of the International Institute for Strategic Studies said on Twitter.

This is the intermediate-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 l that was launched on August 29 by North Korea
This is the intermediate-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 l that was launched on August 29 by North Korea CREDIT: AFP

Physicist David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, added: “North Korea demonstrated that it could reach Guam with this missile, although the payload the missile was carrying is not known” and its accuracy was in doubt.

Sirens sounded and alerts were issued in Japan as residents were warned to take shelter while the missile passed over Hoakkaido.

“We can never tolerate that North Korea trampled on the international community’s strong, united resolve toward peace that has been shown in UN resolutions and went ahead again with this outrageous act,” Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, said.

Jim Mattis, US Defence Secretary, called the latest missile launch a reckless act and “put millions of Japanese in duck and cover”.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged China and Russia to do more to rein in North Korea.

“China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own,” Mr Tillerson said in a statement.

In response to the launch, South Korea’s military immediately carried out a ballistic missile drill of its own, the defence ministry said, adding it took place while the North’s rocket was still airborne.

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A South Korean Hyunmoo-II missile is fired toward the East Sea in response to the latest North Korean missile test CREDIT: EPA

One Hyunmu missile travelled 250 kilometres into the East Sea, Korea’s name for the Sea of Japan – a trajectory intentionally chosen to represent the distance to the launch site at Sunan, near Pyongyang’s airport, it added.

But embarrassingly, another failed soon after being fired.

President Moon Jae-In told an emergency meeting of Seoul’s national security council that dialogue with the North was “impossible in a situation like this”, adding that the South had the power to destroy it.

In New York, the Security Council called an emergency meeting for later on Friday

North Korea last month used the airport to fire a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile that flew over northern Japan.

Pedestrians walk under a large-scale monitor displaying the flying course of a North Korean ballistic missile flying over Japan
Pedestrians walk under a large-scale monitor displaying the flying course of a North Korean ballistic missile flying over Japan  CREDIT: EPA

The North then declared it a “meaningful prelude” to containing the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam and the start of more ballistic missile launches toward the Pacific Ocean.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denounced North Korea’s latest launch, saying he was conveying “strong anger” on behalf of the Japanese people.

Mr Suga said Japan “will not tolerate the repeated and excessive provocations.”

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Boris Johnson urged united response to North Korea’s latest missile test

The latest missile launch by North Korea must be met with a united international response, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has urged.

Mr Johnson condemned the test as “illegal” and the latest sign of “provocation” from Pyongyang.

“Yet another illegal missile launch by North Korea. UK and international community will stand together in the face of these provocations,” he said on Twitter.

In a subsequent statement, he added: “The UK and the international community have condemned the aggressive and illegal actions of the North Korean regime, and the succession of missile and nuclear tests. We stand firmly by Japan and our other international partners.

“We are working to mobilise world opinion with the aim of achieving a diplomatic solution to the situation on the Korean peninsula.

“This week the most stringent UN sanctions regime placed on any nation in the 21st century was imposed on North Korea, after being unanimously agreed at the UN Security Council.

“These measures now need to be robustly enforced. We urge all states to play their part in changing the course North Korea is taking.”

Yet another illegal missile launch by North Korea. UK and international community will stand together in the face of these provocations.

Before the latest launch, Mr Johnson had called for China to use its influence over North Korea to ease tensions caused by Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development programmes.

At a press conference with US counterpart Rex Tillerson on Thursday, Mr Johnson said Pyongyang had “defied the world”.

What kinds of missile was launched by North Korea?

The missile was launched from Sunan, the location of Pyongyang’s international airport and the origin of the earlier missile that flew over Japan.

Analysts have speculated the new test was of the same intermediate-range missile launched in that earlier flight, the Hwasong-12, and was meant to show Washington that the North can hit Guam if it chose to do so.

This graphic explains what we know about North Korea’s missiles:

North Korea ‘has Guam in mind’, says Japan

Japan’s defence minister said on Friday that he believed North Korea “has Guam in mind” after its most recent missile launch, noting it had sufficient range to hit the US territory.

Pyongyang has threatened to hit the US Pacific territory with “enveloping fire,” sparking dire warnings from US President Donald Trump.

Itsunori Onodera told reporters that the latest missile, which overflew Japanese territory, flew 2,300 miles – “long enough to cover Guam”, which is 2,100 miles from North Korea.

“We cannot assume North Korea’s intention, but given what it has said, I think it has Guam in mind,” Onodera said.

He warned that “similar actions (by the North) would continue” as Pyongyang appeared to have shrugged off UN sanctions agreed earlier this week.

The US Pacific Command confirmed the launch was an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) but said it posed no threat to Guam or to the American mainland.

But, for the second time in less than a month, it overflew Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, sparking loudspeaker alerts and warnings to citizens to take cover.

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North Korea Fires Missile in Defiance of U.N. Sanctions — “No question” North Korea can now hit Guam

September 15, 2017

Missile fired early Friday passed over Hokkaido; no damage or injuries immediately reported

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Graphics and Video
What a War With North Korea Might Look Like
Around the Korean peninsula, American leaders have been openly discussing what was once unthinkable: A military intervention in North Korea. If this were to happen, here’s how specialists on North Korean security see things playing out. Graphic: Sharon Shi for The Wall Street Journal

North Korea fired a missile over Japan early Friday local time for the second time in a month, defying rising international efforts to force it to abandon course.

In a rare move, South Korea responded to the launch by immediately conducting a simulated strike of the North Korean launch site, an air base near Pyongyang. In Japan, alerts were sent to smartphones of people living in areas where the missile was projected to pass over soon after the launch was detected. No damage or injuries were reported.

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The latest missile launch marked Pyongyang’s latest provocation after the United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted new sanctions against North Korea.

The Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Friday at the request of the U.S. and Japan. A new violation by the North, in response to the adoption of the fresh sanctions, was anticipated, some diplomats said, raising the stakes for finding a diplomatic solution.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for the new sanctions to be fully enforced.

“We need to make North Korea understand that there is no bright future for them if they pursue this course further,” he said.

The latest missile passed over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific Ocean shortly after 7 a.m. Japan time, a similar path to another missile launched on Aug. 29. It traveled around 2,300 miles, according to South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff, further than the roughly 1,700 miles traveled by the previous missile, highlighting the country’s progress in developing nuclear weapons that can threaten the U.S.

Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, in Pyongyang on Sept. 4.
Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, in Pyongyang on Sept. 4. PHOTO: KCNA/REUTERS

North Korea has twice tested intercontinental-range missiles this year. The latest launch was of a shorter-range projectile that wouldn’t be able to reach the U.S. mainland. The country frequently threatens U.S. bases in the Asia-Pacific region, including a specific threat to Guam last month. Guam is about 2,100 miles south-southeast of Pyongyang.

Melissa Hanham, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in California, said that based on initial data, the missile was likely a Hwasong-12 type device, which was also used in the Aug. 29 launch.

“They are working towards demonstrating they can hit Guam,” she said.

The U.S. Pacific Command confirmed the latest launch was of an intermediate-range ballistic missile that it said posed no threat to the U.S. mainland or Guam.

In Washington, President Donald Trump was briefed on the launch by John Kelly, his chief of staff, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said they hoped that China would eventually back an oil embargo to get North Korea to come to the negotiating table.

Mr. Tillerson said that after the U.S. and other powers last week watered down a U.N. Security Council resolution on North Korea, including shifting from a ban on oil shipments to a cap to bring China on board, he hoped that China would decide “to take it up upon themselves to use that very powerful tool of oil supply to persuade North Korea to reconsider” its development of weapons and its approach to dialogue and negotiations in the future.

In a statement following the missile launch, Mr. Tillerson also called on Russia to crack down on the use of forced North Korean labor, which provides millions of dollars annually to the regime in Pyongyang.

On his way back to the U.S. from meetings in London, Mr. Tillerson spoke by phone with his counterparts in Seoul and Tokyo. An aide said they noted that the latest test represents the second time recently that Japan, a treaty ally of the U.S., has been directly threatened by North Korea.

The North Korean missile was the sixth to pass over Japanese territory since 1998. Japan’s Defense Ministry recently requested around $1.6 billion for new missile-defense technology in its budget for the fiscal year starting next April.

South Korea has recently been bolstering its own defense capabilities in response to North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile tests. Seoul earlier this week held its first live-fire test of cruise missiles designed to destroy the North Korean leadership’s underground bunkers.

South Korea has also rushed the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system, called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, in the country’s southeast, speeding up an environmental assessment that had temporarily stalled the process.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in himself presided over a National Security Council meeting Friday to discuss North Korea’s continued provocations, according to the presidential office in Seoul.

At the meeting, according to his office, Mr. Moon urged that additional preparations be undertaken to counter potential electromagnetic pulse, biochemical and other attacks from North Korea. ​

In its simulated strike of the North Korean launch site on Friday, the South Korean missile flew about 155 miles off the country’s east coast, with the flight distance adjusted to match that needed to hit the launch site, according to the Defense Ministry in Seoul.

Write to Alastair Gale at and Kwanwoo Jun at

North Korea shows capability of striking Guam with missiles


SEOUL—North Korea’s ballistic missile launch on Sept. 15 showed for the first time that the U.S. island territory of Guam is well within range of Pyongyang’s arsenal.

The missile, which flew over Hokkaido, landed in the Pacific Ocean about 3,700 kilometers from its launch site in a suburb of Pyongyang, according to South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The distance from the suburb to Guam is 3,400 to 3,500 km.

Experts say the missile was most likely the Hwasong-12, the same model that North Korea fired over Hokkaido on Aug. 29.

North Korea on Aug. 9 threatened to firing intermediate ballistic missiles into sea areas near Guam, and indicated that the Hwasong-12, whose range is 4,500 to 5,000 km, would be used.

The missile that flew over Japan on Aug. 29 traveled for 2,700 km. South Korea’s National Defense Ministry reported to national assembly that North Korea shortened the flying distance of the Hwasong-12 to about half.

Experts say the two missile launches from the Sunan district in the Pyongyang suburb show that North Korea has gained confidence in its missile technologies.

“If a missile is launched from a site near the capital, it could cause serious damage (to residents) if it fails to fly properly,” said Park Won-gon, professor of international relations at the Handong Global University of South Korea. “Despite that risk, North Korea fired two missiles in a row from there. That means that the country has confidence in missile operations.”

China Navy Ships Depart for Joint Drills With Russia

September 14, 2017

BEIJING — Four Chinese navy ships have departed for joint drills with Russia in the latest sign of growing cooperation between the two militaries that could challenge the U.S. armed forces’ role in the Asia-Pacific.

A destroyer, missile frigate, supply ship and submarine rescue ship departed Wednesday from the port of Qingdao, home to China’s north sea fleet, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The drills are being held in the Sea of Japan near the Korean Peninsula and the Sea of Okhotsk off the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, Xinhua said.

The exercises are the second stage of an annual joint drill, the first part of which was held July 22-27 in the Baltic Sea — the first time the countries had exercised together in the northern European waterbody.

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Chinese and Russian destroyers take part in a previous joint exercise in 2014 / AP

Russia and China are closely aligned on many diplomatic and security issues, with both countries calling for a negotiated settlement of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, preceded by North Korea suspending its nuclear and missile activities in return for the U.S. and South Korea halting their regular large-scale wargames.

July’s joint drills in the Baltic stirred concern among countries in the region, where tensions are already high over increased displays of military force by both Moscow and NATO.

Both Russia and China say the exercises are not directed at any third parties.

The Chinese ships taking part in the exercises are among the country’s most advanced, components of a growing fleet that poses a significant challenge to the U.S. Navy’s traditional dominance in the Asia-Pacific. Beijing has long chafed at the American presence and is a strong critic of its alliances with Japan, Australia and other countries in the region.

China already has the world’s largest navy, with slightly over 300 vessels, compared to the U.S. Navy’s 277 “deployable battle force ships,” according to the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute. The U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence forecasts it will have 313-342 warships by 2020.

While China’s ships are technologically inferior to those of the U.S. Navy, their sheer numbers allow China a significant presence on the open sea, institute professor Andrew S. Erickson wrote in a recent study.

North Korea Missile Test Prompts Neighbors to Strengthen Defenses

August 29, 2017

Moves by Japan and South Korea are likely to provoke Beijing, complicating international response

Updated Aug. 29, 2017 1:06 p.m. ET

North Korea’s missile launch over Japan has begun to bolster efforts by Tokyo and Seoul to upgrade their missile defenses, though such moves would anger China and Russia and complicate international coordination in tackling the threat from Pyongyang.

The launch on Tuesday was one of well over a dozen by North Korea this year, but it was also a first: Kim Jong Un had never before sent a missile over a major foreign population center. It prompted an outraged Tokyo to call for an emergency United Nations Security Council…


Claire Bickers and Sarah BlakeNews Corp Australia Network

NORTH Korea’s latest missile launch is “impeccably” timed to frustrate its enemies, Australian experts say.

Not only is the international community unlikely to do more than hold the line on its economic sanctions despite the “serious escalation” by Pyongyang, but Donald Trump is tied up with a developing crisis in Texas after hurricane Harvey.

The US President won’t be able to make good on his threat to rain down “fire and fury”, Professor John Blaxland says.

RELATED: Should Australia be worried about North Korea’s missiles?

North Korea’s latest missile launch is timed to frustrate its enemies. Picture: AFP/ KCNA via KNS

North Korea’s latest missile launch is timed to frustrate its enemies. Picture: AFP/ KCNA via KNSSource:AFP

His comments come after North Korea fired a missile over Japan earlier on Tuesday.

Pyongyang’s latest missile launch has been described as an “unprecedented grave threat” by the Japanese government.

President Donald Trump condemned the launch and again warned “all options are on the table”.

“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signalled its contempt for its neighbours, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behaviour,” Mr Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

“Threatening and destabilising actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world.

North Korea fires missile over Japan

Dr Blaxland, head of the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre and its Southeast Asia Unit, told News Corp the missile test would have a number of serious repercussions for North Korea and the international community, but Kim Jong Un’s primary objective was to expose President Trump.

“Pyongyang’s timing is impeccable,” he told News Corp Australia.

“It presents a conundrum for Trump.

“Kim Jong Un is showing him up while his hands are tied.

“He’s preoccupied with a major domestic tragedy.”

President Trump did not have any viable options at this stage beyond what had already been announced, Dr Blaxland said.

US President Donald Trump will visit Texas to show he is on top of a disaster that is already posing a fierce challenge for local and federal responders. Picture: AFP Photo

US President Donald Trump will visit Texas to show he is on top of a disaster that is already posing a fierce challenge for local and federal responders. Picture: AFP PhotoSource:AFP

That includes economic sanctions and that all options, including military, are open to Mr Trump.

The test would also have the added benefit for Kim Jong-un of reinforcing paranoia among the North Korean once the US and Japan responded with increasingly “bellicose” language, Dr Blaxland said.

But the test would bite the hermit kingdom in other ways.

It would likely give strength to the argument for Japan to increase its military capabilities — something China would be strongly opposed to.

And it could prompt even stronger economic sanctions.

Pedestrians watch the news on a huge screen displaying a map of Japan and the Korean Peninsula following a North Korean missile test that passed over Japan. Picture: AFP

Pedestrians watch the news on a huge screen displaying a map of Japan and the Korean Peninsula following a North Korean missile test that passed over Japan. Picture: AFP Source:AFP

Dr Blaxland said North Korea was already about to feel the bite of current sanctions that would begin in September.

“If China and Russia do actually comply and impose the blockages, then that will bite quickly,” he said.

The kingdom could feel the impact within months, if not weeks, which would lead to a tough winter for its people.

“They will start to bite and increasingly people will be questioning Kim’s leadership,” Dr Blaxland said.

“But he has such a tight grip on the place, it may not worry him.”

Pedestrians walk in front of a television screen displaying Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking to the media after the North Korean missile test. Picture: AFP photo

Pedestrians walk in front of a television screen displaying Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking to the media after the North Korean missile test. Picture: AFP photo Source:AFP

International relations expert Stephan Fruehling, associate Dean of ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific, said the latest test could also spur on the next phase of the dangerous stand-off between North Korea and the US and Japanese governments.

“The overflight of Japan by a North Korean missile fits into a pattern of increasingly provocative steps by North Korea in recent months,” Dr Fruehling told News Corp.

“It reminds of a similar overflight in 1998, which was a major factor in spurring Japan to join the US missile defence system and acquire SM-3 missile interceptors for its navy ships.

“If such tests are repeated in coming weeks and months, the pressure on the US and Japanese governments to intercept North Korean test missiles will increase, foreshadowing the next stage of escalation in a dangerous stand-off.”


North Korea latest escalation was described as an “unprecedented, serious and grave threat” that marked a significant escalation in nuclear tensions.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting to counter the communist nation’s growing aggression.

The Pentagon confirmed the launch and world leaders condemned the act as Mr Abe demanded increased pressure on the nuclear-armed state.

“Their outrageous act of firing a missile over our country is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat and greatly damages regional peace and security,” Mr Abe said in Tokyo.

The missile was fired early on Tuesday and no damage was reported, but it was roundly described as a dangerous escalation from Kim Jong-un and sparked widespread panic in Japan.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said she believed North Korea ramping up its testing to improve its bargaining power with the international community.

“We have seen this pattern of behaviour by the North Korean regimes over a number of decades,” Ms Bishop said.

“They ramp up the provocative behaviour and it gets to a point where they then sit down and negotiate.”

Ms Bishop said Australia stood ready to assist Japan in any way it could.

“At this point, I understand the Japanese made the decision not to shoot it down,” she said.

“They were clearly tracking it, they have the capability to do that, and made the calculation it was not going to hit Japanese territory but would fall into the ocean. So there is obviously some value in leaving it rather than shooting it down.”

Ms Bishop said she expected new international sanctions on North Korea would be implemented in September and would have a “serious impact” on the nation.

She highlighted that China was playing a significant role in imposing the new sanctions.

Ms Bishop also said US President Donald Trump had made it clear all options were on the table for dealing with North Korea but the US was determined to resolve the tensions peacefully.

She rejected suggestions the Australian Government needed to consider a missile defence system, such as the THAAD system in South Korea.

Turnbull condemns North Korean missile launch

The system would not be appropriate for a country the size of Australia, she said.

The projectile overshot the country and eventually landed in the Pacific Ocean, but the threat was enough to spark widespread panic and thousands took shelter.

Authorities warned of a possible attack on cities within Hokkaido and other parts of northern Japan and local media instructed residents to “evacuate to a sturdy building or basement”.

It was the first missile to breach Japanese airspace since North Korea launched a satellite into orbit in December 2012.

A projectile was shot by Pyonyang over Japan in 1998.

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In a first, North Korea fires missile over Japan in aggressive test

August 29, 2017


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called a North Korean missile flying over northern Japan an “unprecedented” threat

August 29, 2017

BBC News

      Footage on social media appears to show warning alarms triggered by the missile

    North Korea has fired a missile over northern Japan in a move Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called an “unprecedented” threat to his country.

    The missile, launched early on Tuesday Korean time, flew over Hokkaido island before crashing into the sea.

    The UN Security Council is expected to hold an emergency meeting in response.

    North Korea has conducted a flurry of missile tests recently, but this is the first time it has fired what is thought to be a ballistic weapon over Japan.

    On the two previous occasions its rockets crossed Japan – in 1998 and 2009 – North Korea said they were for satellite launch vehicles, not weapons.

    The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo says this latest launch appears to be the first of a missile powerful enough to potentially carry a nuclear warhead.

    Residents told to seek shelter

    The South Korean military said the missile was fired eastward just before 06:00 local time (21:00 GMT) from near the North’s capital, Pyongyang – which is rare.

    Early analysis of the launch suggests the missile:

    • flew a distance of more than 2,700km (1,678 miles)
    • was likely a Hwasong-12, a newly developed intermediate range weapon
    • reached a maximum altitude of about 550km (342 miles), lower than most previous North Korean tests
    • fell into the North Pacific Ocean 1,180km off the Japanese coast after breaking into three pieces.

    No effort was made by the Japanese to shoot down the missile but it issued a safety warning telling citizens in Hokkaido to take shelter in “a sturdy building or basement”.

    US and Japanese forces are currently taking part in training drills in Hokkaido.

    Japan map

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered a show of “overwhelming” force in response to the launch. Four South Korean jets staged a live bombing drill on Tuesday.

    Mr Abe said he had spoken to US President Donald Trump and that both agreed to increase pressure on North Korea.

    Grey line

    Analysis: Yogita Limaye, BBC News Seoul

    Over the past week it seemed as though the rhetoric from North Korea had abated. There was less fiery commentary from the country’s media than we’d seen in preceding weeks.

    But the latest missile launch will certainly dispel any notions that Pyongyang is backing down, even though there’s been international condemnation and UN sanctions passed against it.

    In some ways, a provocation was expected as US and South Korean forces are currently conducting joint military exercises. These drills are held every August, and there’s always some retaliation to them from North Korea. Last year, Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test shortly after the exercises.

    But few North Korea watchers expected an overt missile test over Japanese territory – especially over the north, as previous threats on Guam would take missiles over the south of Japan.

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    Mr Abe said the North Korea’s “reckless action is an unprecedented, serious and a grave threat to our nation” which also “greatly damages regional peace and security”.

    He said his government was doing its utmost to protect people’s lives.

    Text message sent by Japanese government
    Alerts were sent out by text message people in Hokkaido telling them to seek shelter. REUTERS

    North Korea’s conventional and nuclear weapons programmes are a breach of international sanctions, so the test is being seen as a major provocation and an escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.

    Earlier this month, North Korea threatened to fire missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam, while US President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang would face “fire and fury” if it continued to threaten the US.

    There have also been some reports in recent months that North Korea is preparing to carry out its sixth nuclear test.

    But last week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the fact that North Korea had not carried out any missile launches since the UN imposed a fresh round of sanctions was an indication of restraint by Pyongyang.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to reporters about North Korea's missile launch in Tokyo (29 August 2017)
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strongly denounced the attack. Credit Reuters

    In other reaction:

    • A meeting of South Korea’s National Security Council (NSC) was convened to discuss the issue, Yonhap reported.
    • British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson expressed “outrage” at North Korea’s “reckless provocation”.
    • Australia has condemned the launch as a “provocative, dangerous, destabilising and threatening act”.
    • The Pentagon said that Tuesday’s test did not represent a threat to the US and the military was now working to gather more intelligence about it.

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    North Korean missile flies over Japan, escalating tensions and prompting an angry response from Tokyo

    August 29, 2017

    The Washington Post

    August 28 at 11:50 PM

    © AFP / by Hiroshi HIYAMA | Japan’s “J-alert” delivered ominous messages warning people to take cover after North Korea fired a missile over the north of the country

     North Korea launched a ballistic missile Tuesday morning that flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, the most brazen provocation of Kim Jong Un’s five-year-long rule and one that elicited strong condemnation from U.S. allies Japan and South Korea.

    The launch poses a further challenge, in particular, to President Trump, who has made North Korea a favorite rhetorical target. Trump said earlier this month that he would make Kim “truly regret” harming the United States or its allies.

    In Japan, the prime minister was visibly agitated by North Korea’s actions. “A missile launch across Japan is an outrageous act that poses an unprecedented, grave and serious threat, and significantly undermines the peace and security of the region,” Shinzo Abe said after an emergency national security council meeting.

    Japan’s upgraded missile response system swung into action, sending emergency alerts through cellphones and over loudspeakers shortly after 6 a.m., warning people on the potential flight path of the threat and advising them to take cover.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to reporters about North Korea's missile launch in Tokyo (29 August 2017)Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strongly denounced the attack. Credit Reuters

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Japanese government would take ‘all possible measures’ to ensure the safety of his people after a North Korean missile was fired over Japan on Aug. 29. (NHK)

    The missile appears to have been a Hwasong-12, the inter­mediate-range ballistic missile technically capable of flying 3,000 miles that North Korea has been threatening to launch toward the U.S. territory of Guam.

    But North Korea launched Tuesday’s missile to the east, over Hokkaido and into the Pacific Ocean, rather than on a southward path toward Guam, apparently to test its flight on a normal trajectory without crossing a “red line” of aiming at the United States.

    Still, this launch, coming after North Korea last month launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles theoretically capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, underscore both Kim’s defiance of the international community and his determination to press ahead with his missile program. Kim has now ordered the launch of 18 missiles this year alone, compared with the 16 missiles his father, Kim Jong Il, fired during 17 years in power.

    The White House did not immediately respond to the latest provocation, but the Japanese prime minister’s office said Trump and Abe talked by phone for 40 minutes after the launch, agreeing that the test was unprecedented and that they should further increase the pressure on North Korea.

    The the U.N. Security Council confirmed it would hold an emergency meeting in New York Tuesday to discuss the latest provocation. Missile launches and nuclear tests are banned by the U.N. Security Council, but North Korea has paid no attention to its resolutions.


    In Seoul, President Moon Jae-in, a liberal who has promoted engagement with Pyongyang, ordered an “overwhelming show of force” in response to the missile launch. South Korea’s military aircraft dropped eight bombs on a shooting range on the southern side of the border with North Korea.

    Analysts said Tuesday’s launch marked a worrying escalation from North Korea. “This is a much more dangerous style of test,” said Abraham Denmark, director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center and a former top East Asia official at the Pentagon.

    North Korea’s recent missile tests had been carefully calibrated to go nearly straight up and land in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, rather than overflying Japan.

    “North Korean missiles have a habit of breaking apart in flight, so if this happened and parts of it landed in Japan, even if it was not North Korea’s intention, this would amount to a de facto attack on Japan,” Denmark said.

    This missile appeared to have broken into three during flight, but all of the parts landed in the sea.

    The missile was launched at 5:58 a.m. Japan time from a site at Sunan, north of Pyongyang and the location of the country’s main international airport.

    U.S. intelligence agencies were monitoring the site and had seen signs of the impending launch hours earlier, when they spotted Hwasong-12 missile equipment being moved into place.

    The Hwasong-12, known to American agencies as the KN-17, is fired from a road-mobile launcher — usually a modified truck — making it easy to move around the country and launch on short notice.

    North Korea has sent rockets over Japan before, in 1998 and again in 2009. But both times it claimed that they were satellite launches, and in the second case, it gave Japan notice before the launch. 

    This time, there was no notice, and analysts said that this launch was clearly for military purposes.

    The missile traveled almost 1,700 miles in total, flying over Hokkaido at 6:06 a.m. before landing in the Pacific Ocean 730 miles to the east of Hokkaido’s Cape Erimo at about 6:12 a.m. During this time, it traveled through Japanese airspace for about two minutes, government officials said.

    The Pentagon said it had detected the launch but was still in the process of assessing it.

    Japanese military aircraft and ships headed to the landing site on Tuesday morning to try to recover debris from the missile, which could yield important information about its technical capabilities.

    The Japanese broadcaster NHK showed Patriot missiles installed at sites around the country.

    “We will make every possible effort to protect citizens’ lives and property,” Abe told reporters before heading into the national security council meeting.

    However, the Japanese military did not attempt to intercept the missile. Government officials said they could tell the missile was heading into the sea, rather than toward Japanese territory.

    But analysts said that the PAC-3 missile defense system has a range of less than 20 miles and is designed to intercept the missile as it’s coming down, meaning that even the batteries on Hokkaido would not have been able to intercept this one.

    Tuesday’s launch, on the heels of three short-range missiles fired Saturday, comes amid ongoing joint exercises between the United States and South Korean militaries, exercises that North Korea always strongly protests because it considers them preparation for an invasion.

    The exercises, which mainly involve computer simulations rather than battlefield maneuvers, are due to end Thursday.

    “We should expect a kinetic reaction from North Korea during the exercises, but this pushes the boundaries of an ordinary response,” said Daryl Kimball, the director of the Arms Control Association.

    However, Kimball said that talks still remain the best course of action for dealing with North Korea.

    “The U.S. and Japan have so few options to respond to these ballistic missile tests short of negotiations that would have North Korea agree to halt these launches in return for a modification of future military exercises,” he said. “This is why North Korea is such a problem — there are no good options.”

    Despite the international pressure, Kim has pressed ahead unrelentingly with his missile program.

    His government had been threatening to fire a missile to pass over Japan and land near Guam, which is home to two huge U.S. military bases, by the middle of this month. However, Kim later said that after reviewing the plans, he would “watch the Yankees a little longer” before making a decision about whether to launch.

    After the Guam threat, Trump warned North Korea that “things will happen to them like they never thought possible” should the isolated country attack the United States or its allies.

    With no missile launches during the first three weeks of August, the Trump administration had suggested that its tough talk was working, with Trump saying last week at a rally in Phoenix that Kim had come to “respect” him.

    John Wagner and Ellen Nakashima in Washington and Yuki Oda in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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