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North Korea Launches Missile Into Japanese Sea
According to confirmed reports from the Pentagon, North Korea launched a ballistic missile at approximately 10:45 am eastern time on Friday.
Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan informed broadcaster NHK that the missile possibly landed in the East Sea, just off the coast of the country. In addition, Yoshida Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, declared that the missile possibly flew for a total of 45 minutes and did not damage any aircrafts or vessels.
While more information is being sought by the Pentagon as to what type of ballistic missile was launched, the United States intelligence community has continuously emphasized that North Korea has increased its operations to extend the range of its ballistic missile program. According to The Washington Post, Kim Jong Un has made it no secret that he is determined to develop a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach the United States and US intelligence agencies have confirmed North Korea’s preparations for another test. Furthermore, on Wednesday, North Korea threatened the US with a preemptive nuclear strike. As asserted by Pak Yong Sik, North Korea’s Defense Minister, “If enemies misunderstand our strategic status and stick to options of staging a preemptive nuclear attack against us, we will launch a nuclear attack on America’s heart as the most relentless punishment without warning or prior notice.”
As reported by a US official familiar with the latest intelligence assessment, North Korea would quite possibly be able to launch an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) by early 2018.
In a statement made by President Donald Trump, the US is “working closely with South Korea and Japan, as well partners around the world, on a range of diplomatic, security, and economic measures to protect our allies and our own citizens from this menace known as North Korea. The United States calls on other regional powers and all responsible nations to join us in implementing sanctions and demanding that the North Korean regime choose a better path and do it quickly.”
While Trump is calling for a tougher stance against North Korea, there is no clear outline as to how that will be enforced, according to CNN. It was made official recently that the era of strategic patience – a policy developed by the Obama administration which suggested the United States could afford to wait for North Korea to make its decision to denuclearize – is over and more active measures would be taken to ensure that North Korea does not follow through with its nuclear plans aimed towards the US. As stated, it has not been determined as to what those measures will entail.