North Korea’s conducts first missile launch over Japan since 2017. The ballistic missile travelled over 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) before crashing into the Pacific Ocean, which is far enough to target the US territory of Guam if it took a different course.
Why this matter
North Korea is prohibited by the United Nations from conducting missile and nuclear tests. Flying missiles at or above other countries without prior notice or consultation is also against international norms.
Most countries avoid it entirely because it is readily misinterpreted as an attack. While this is not the case, There were no reported injuries after the intermediate-range ballistic missile fell into the Pacific Ocean far from Japan.
Why this is happening
The launch comes as Japan, the United States, and South Korea have been working together to enhance their defenses in response to the North’s mounting threat. For the first time since 2017, the three countries conducted joint naval exercises last week.
In reaction to the joint exercises in 2017, North Korea launched two missiles over Japan. It performed a nuclear test a week later.
According to recent intelligence, North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test. North Korea is anticipated to postpone its nuclear test until after China’s Communist Party Congress later this month. Pyongyang has launched five missiles in the last week. Two rockets were shot down in waters outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone on Saturday.
These activities have exacerbated long-standing tensions between North Korea and Japan, which stem from Japan’s prior colonisation of Korea from 1910 to 1945, as well as the North’s earlier abduction of Japanese citizens.
North Korea declared itself a nuclear weapons state earlier this month, with leader Kim Jong-un ruling out the possibility of denuclearisation discussions.
What you should know
Between 2006 and 2017, Pyongyang conducted six nuclear tests, earning worldwide sanctions. The East Asian country routinely ignores the prohibition on nuclear and missile testing, claiming that it has to beef up its defenses.