North Korea fires 'ballistic missile' into Japanese waters

Cheryl Sanders
May 29, 2017

"The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on Earth, which is the capital of South Korea", Mattis told CBS news program "Face the Nation".

North Korea test-fired a missile Monday into Japan's maritime economic zone - the latest in a series of provocative launches that have heightened tensions over its nuclear weapons ambitions.

Upon his return from the G-7 summit in Italy, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that "North Korea's provocation by ignoring repeated warnings from the global society is absolutely unacceptable", The AP reports.

"As agreed during the G7 summit, the North Korean problem is the worldwide community's top priority".

It was the North's third ballistic missile test in as many weeks and the 12th this year -- carried out in defiance of United Nations sanctions warnings and USA threats of possible military action.

Monday's test also marked the second time this year that a North Korean missile fell provocatively close to its neighbour Japan.

The North has been stepping up efforts towards its ultimate goal - developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental US.

Besides its regular ballistic missile test-launches, the North carried out two nuclear tests past year _ in January and September.

Mr Abe continued that he would consider a specific response to North Korea with the USA, and he would stay in close contact with South Korea.

It's the latest in a string of test launches by North Korea as it seeks to build nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the USA mainland, a drive that puts North Korea high on the list of foreign policy worries for Japan, Washington and Seoul. While President Trump has said he prefers a diplomatic solution, he also warned that a "major, major conflict" was possible between the North Korea and the United States.

"And in the event of war, they would bring danger to China and to Russian Federation as well", he said.

Suga said Japanese officials will discuss North Korea with a senior foreign policy adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Yang Jiechi, who is scheduled to visit Japan later Monday. The latest launch follows the regime's testing of a KN-06 surface-to-air missile on Sunday, under the supervision of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"The military is saying that the launch took place from Wonsan, home to a test site of intermediate-range missiles", Lee reports. He said there was no report of damage to planes or vessels in the area.

The North's nuclear and missile programmes are perhaps the biggest foreign policy challenges to the new leaders in allies Washington and Seoul. He said China, the North's only major ally, has been increasingly using its influence over North Korea. Mattis refused to comment in detail, when asked if there was a theoretical red line, or a point of no return for North Korea, that would force the intervene militarily.

Other reports by iNewsToday