North Korean Missile Test a Prelude to "Containing" Guam
North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Tuesday, with leader Kim Jong Un saying he wanted more exercises targetting the Pacific.
“The current ballistic rocket launching drill like a real war is the first step of the military operation of the Korean People's Army in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” state media agency KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
Earlier this month, North Korea threatened to fire four missiles into the sea near Guam, after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened “fire and fury” if it threatened the U.S.
Tuesday’s test was of the same Hwasong-12 missile Kim had threatened to use on Guam, reports Reuters, but the test flight took it another direction, over northern Japan’s Hokkaido and into the North Pacific Ocean.
Trump has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the U.S. mainland.
“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior. Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table,” Trump said in a statement.
The U.S. and South Korean forces are conducting annual military exercises on the Korean peninsula. Both nations say the drills are defensive in nature, but North Korea has long condemned them as rehearsals for invasion. The nation tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile during the drills that were held in August last year.
This latest missile launch was the third that North Korea has fired over Japanese territory. The first was in 1998 and the second in 2009, with North Korea claiming both were satellites. The launch comes three days after the North fired three short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.