North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan as Tokyo urges residents to EVACUATE amid growing fears of war between the US, South Korea and Kim Jong-Un’s deranged regime
- North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile over Japan early Tuesday
- Japanese government has warned citizens to evacuate inside or underground
- The launch was part of a record-breaking streak of weapons tests by Pyongyang
- It comes as South Korea ramps up military drills with the US
North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan, for the first time in five years on Tuesday, prompting a warning for residents to take cover and a temporary suspension of train operations in the northern part of the country.
The Japanese government warned citizens to take cover as the missile appeared to have flown over and past its territory before falling into the Pacific ocean.
It said it did not use any defence measures to destroy the missile, which was the first to fly over or past Japan from North Korea since 2017.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the launch and called North Korea’s actions ‘barbaric.’ He noted that the government would continue to gather and analyse information.
The launch is the latest weapons test by North Korea in an apparent response to military drills between South Korea and the United States.
North Korea views such drills as an invasion rehearsal, though Seoul and Washington say they are defensive in nature.
North Korea has fired an unidentified ballistic missile over Japan, prompting Tokyo to encourage residents to evacuate. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is pictured last month
A TV screen shows a file image of a North Korean missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea on September 28, 2022
Speaking to reporters shortly after the launch Mr Kishida said: ‘A ballistic missile is believed to have passed over our country and fallen in the Pacific Ocean.
‘This is an act of violence following recent repeated launches of ballistic missiles. We strongly condemn this.’
Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan’s top government spokesperson, held a brief news conference early Tuesday, alleging Pyongyang’s launches ‘threatens peace and security.’
‘North Korea’s series of actions, including its repeated ballistic missile launches, threatens the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community, and poses a serious challenge to the entire international community, including Japan,’ he said.
The launch had prompted an evacuation warning across Japan.
‘North Korea appears to have launched a missile,’ the Japanese government said in an alert issued on Tuesday at 7.29am local time. ‘Please evacuate into buildings or underground.’
National broadcaster NHK said the alert was in effect for two northern regions of the country, where the missile was believed to be headed.
Around 8am, the prime minister’s office then tweeted that ‘a projectile that appears to be a North Korean ballistic missile has likely flown over Japan’.
In a statement, Japan’s coastguard said the missile appeared to have already landed in the sea and warned vessels not to approach any falling objects.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missle appeared to have been an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) launched from North Korea’s Jagang Province.
North Korea has used that province to launch several recent tests, including multiple missiles that it claimed were “hypersonic.”
TV Asahi, citing an unnamed government source, said North Korea might have fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and it fell into the sea some 3,000 km (1,860 miles) from Japan.
The latest launch was Pyongyang’s fifth in 10 days, amid military muscle-flexing by the United States and South Korea, which staged trilateral anti-submarine exercises last week with Japanese naval forces.
South Korea staged its own show of advanced weaponry on Saturday to mark its Armed Forces Day, including multiple rocket launchers, ballistic missiles, main battle tanks, drones and F-35 fighters.
The test prompted East Japan Railway Co to suspend its train operations in the northern regions, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.
The North has completed preparations for a nuclear test, which it might look to undertake sometime between China’s Communist Party Congress this month and US mid-term elections in November, South Korean lawmakers said last week.
The launch was part of a record-breaking streak of weapons tests by Pyongyang, as South Korea ramps up military drills with the US. The US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan is pictured during a US-South Korea combined naval exercise on September 29
US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to the press as she visits at the Joint Security Area on the Demilitarized Zone in the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea on September 29
South Korea has said North Korea has fired a ballistic missile toward its eastern waters
US Vice President Kamala Harris visited South Korea last week. She used binoculars to view North Korea from the demilitarised zone, hours after she claimed the US had a ‘strong alliance’ with the enemy.
Video of Harris’ visit to South Korean on Thursday shows the vice president, accompanied by US soldiers, marveling as she looked into North Korea.
‘There’s something about seeing it… with your own eyes,’ Harris comments. ‘And it’s so close.’
The service member then corrects her, saying: ‘It’s 50 meters away, mam.’
‘Oh, right,’ she replied.
North Korea fired missiles before and after Harris’ visit to South Korea, extending a record pace in weapons testing this year as it increases the threat of a credible nuclear power that can strike the United States and its allies.
Ms Harris met South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul during her four-day trip earlier this week to discuss the alliance between their two countries.
They issued a joint statement condemning the ‘provocative nuclear rhetoric and ballistic missile launches’ by North Korea.
The leaders also ‘reaffirmed [their] alignment… and goal of the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula’.
The missile launches came before and after a four-day visit by US Vice President Kamala Harris. She is pictured on September 29 at a military operation post that overlooks North Korea at the demilitarised zone
Vice President Harris met South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on September 29 – the pair issued a joint statement condemning the missile launches
North Korea’s foreign ministry also issued its support on Tuesday for Russia’s proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine and accused the of applying ‘gangster-like double standards’ in interfering in other country’s affairs.
State media KCNA reported on a US-led UN Security Council resolution condemning the proclaimed annexation, which was vetoed on Friday by Russia, backing Moscow’s claim that the regions chose to be part of Russia.
Kyiv and Western leaders condemned the referendums as a sham, with Washington urging UN member states not to recognise any altered status of Ukraine, and Russia to withdraw its troops from the regions where it has seized territory by force and fighting still rages.
Jo Chol Su, director-general of international organisations at Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry, said the referendums were held legitimately in line with the UN charter, but the United States was holding ‘gangster-like double standards’ after having invaded other countries to maintain its own ‘supremacy.’
North Korea’s foreign ministry also issued its support on Tuesday for Russia’s proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine. Pictured: Destroyed buildings in Izium, Ukraine on Monday
‘To maintain the unchallenged ‘unipolar world’, the US interferes in the internal affairs of independent countries and infringes upon their legal rights by abusing the UNSC,’ Jo said in a statement carried by KCNA.
‘The US unleashed wars of aggression against sovereign states including former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, but the US has not been called into question by the UNSC.’
Jo said the Security Council would face consequences if it follows Washington’s ‘highhanded and arbitrary practices and partial and double-standards acts.’
Ukraine severed relations with North Korea, an old Cold-War ally with Russia, in July after Pyongyang recognised two breakaway self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine’s east.
The US said last month that Russia was in the buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use in Ukraine.
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