North Korean Crisis at Tipping Point as Pyongyang Tests IRBM Over Japan

North Korean Crisis at Tipping Point as Pyongyang Tests IRBM Over Japan

Last night, North Korea test-fired what is likely a road-mobile, liquid-fueled, nuclear-capable, single-stage Hwasong-12 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and it impacted in three pieces in the Pacific.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled nearly 2,700 kilometers and reached a maximum height of 550 kilometers as it flew for 15 minutes over Hokkaido and landed 1180 kilometers out in the Northern Pacific. The Hwasong-12 first appeared in a military parade in April and had its first successful flight on May 14th. Three previous tests of the Hwansong-12 IRBM appear to have been complete failures. This is the third North Korean ballistic missile to fly over Japan since 1998 and caused Japan to take emergency precautions in what is viewed as an extremely provocative test. The Hwasong-12 IRBM is said to have the range to strike Guam and the Aleutian Islands with an estimated range of 3700-6000 kilometers carrying a 650-kilogram nuclear warhead. This flight comes just days after Saturday’s North Korean launch of three Short Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBMs). South Korean intelligence that the North is prepared to conduct a nuclear test within hours or days, likely on or about September 9th the anniversary of the founding of North Korea.

South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, on Monday directed the country's military to further enhance its defense readiness, and pushed for capabilities to counter North Korea's "asymmetrical" threats, including nuclear weapons. Following last night’s launch of the Hwasong-12 IRBM South Korea carried out air-strikes on its test range near the North Korean border dropping eight 2000-pound bunker busting bombs. Japan’s military is expected to conduct deployment drills for its anti-missile batteries at three US bases in Japan, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for an immediate meeting of the UN Security Council noting that Japan and the US were unified in their position on Pyongyang. US President, Donald Trump has warned that "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." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that, "Regarding the launching of the missiles from North Korea, we stick to the resolutions of the United Nations and we insist on the fact that the North Koreans must respect those resolutions from the United Nations." China, North Korea’s closest ally, blamed joint South Korean and US exercises for the Norths most recent provocations, urged calm, and pushed the Trump administration for direct talks as the crisis is at the “tipping point.”

#North Korea

#South Korea

#Japan

#US

#Russia,

#China

#Hwason-12 IRBM

#SRBM

#Nuclear Test


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