North Korea’s latest missile launch signals flew over northern Japan’s Hokkaido island before crashing into the northern Pacific Ocean.
Kim Jong-un’s regime fired a ballistic missile directly over Japan – a move that has been called a ‘grave threat’ to peace in the region although it did not land on Japan or cause any casualties, the threat was serious enough that Japanese citizens woke up to air-raid sirens this morning.
David Wright from the Union of Concerned Scientists thinks North Korea’s ballistic missiles can fly even further than 3,400 miles.
The fact that North Korea managed to launch a ballistic missile over Japanese territory suggests that they could potentially launch a nuclear warhead or a chemical weapon at Japan, South Korea, or US territory Guam.
Ballistic missiles are also particularly dangerous for what the represent – a potential start to a nuclear conflict. They can be used to kill thousands of people without armies ever having to come into contact.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called North Korea’s missile launch an “unprecedented” threat to his country.
Boris Johnson, the UK foreign secretary, called North Korea’s firing of their ballistic missile a ‘reckless provocation’.
North Korea has been working on its missile program for decades, with weapons based on the Soviet-developed Scud, but there is no consensus on how close it is to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to put on a missile.
It has conducted short- and medium-range tests on many occasions, sometimes to mark domestic events or at times of regional tension.
In recent months the pace of testing has increased; experts say North Korea appears to be making significant advances towards its goal of building a reliable long-range nuclear-capable weapon.
In July, North Korea launched two missiles which it said were Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) capable of hitting the US; experts believe they put parts of the US in range.
North Korea’s conventional and nuclear weapons programs are a breach of UN resolutions.
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