Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday slammed North Korea’s launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japanese territory before crashing 2,000 miles east of the country into the Pacific Ocean after a 22-minute flight, according to local authorities.
Residents in the northeastern regions of Hokkaido and Aomori were told to take shelter and train service was temporarily suspended following what Kishida later described as a “reckless act” that he “strongly” condemned. The last time North Korea fired a missile over Japan was in 2017.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol warned Pyongyang that “such reckless provocations will find a response from the South Korean military, its allies and the international community,” according to the news agency Efe.
North Korea’s communist regime has stepped up its ballistic missile tests this year, including the launch in March of a Hwasong-17, the largest and most powerful intercontinental missile developed by its army. Tuesday’s missile launch is the fifth round of weapons testing by North Korea in the past 10 days, and it comes after last week’s military drills between South Korea and the US.
On a recent trip to Seoul, US Vice-President Kamala Harris underscored her country’s “ironclad” commitment to South Korea’s defense and said the US would do everything in its power to keep its promise. North Korea’s missile test program, said Harris, is “destabilizing peace and security in this region.”