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Reports began breaking Monday afternoon that the rogue regime in North Korea had fired off yet another ballistic missile in a provocative manner, this time sending one on a trajectory toward the nearby island nation of Japan. According to Reuters, the missile was fired in the early hours of Tuesday morning in Japan time, crossed over the northern Hokkaido section of Japan and broke apart into three pieces, crashing harmlessly into the Pacific Ocean.
Nevertheless, the Japanese government issued an alert to citizens to take any precautions necessary and prepare for the worst. The missile flying over Japan was the first time North Korea has made such an aggressive move since 2009 and marks a “sharp escalation in tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Reuters reported.
Japan reportedly did not make any effort to shoot down the missile tracking through their sky, despite currently practicing to do just such a thing with anti-missile batteries deployed at U.S. bases in Japan, according to the Los Angeles Times.
According to Agence France-Presse, the “unidentified ballistic missile” was fired from the Sunan region near the capital of Pyongyang, overflying Japanese territory to crash in the East Sea, part of the Sea of Japan.
“South Korea and the US are jointly analysing for details,” stated a media release from the South Korean military’s Joint Chief of Staff’s office.
A spokesman for the Japanese government said the launch was viewed as a “serious, grave security threat” to the Asian nation, and that “full steps” were being taken to ensure the continued safety of Japanese citizens.
It is thought that the most recent launch — which came just days after three smaller short-range missiles were launched to minimal effect — was in response to the start of a new round of military exercises in the region conducted jointly by U.S. forces and their South Korean counterparts.
The launch also comes at a time when virtually the entire world — including China and Russia, at least publicly — are urging North Korea to refrain from such provocative actions.
Obviously, it remains to be seen if there will be any sort of response to this latest missile launch, as President Donald Trump has promised to unleash “fire and fury” on the communist nation if it attacked any United States territory. South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested his nation “immediately switch to offensive operations” if the North crossed an unspecified line with its provocations, according to Business Insider.
Of course, we will be sure to update you with any further information as this story continues to develop.
War might not be the inevitable result of North Korean provocations, but it’s coming closer with every step Kim takes.