North Korea continues missile barrage with test over Japan
Japan says missiles fired by North Korea flew over northern Japan on Thursday, the latest in a series of weapons tests that have heightened tensions in the region.
The announcement from the Japanese prime minister’s office came shortly after South Korea’s military said it detected North Korea launching at least one ballistic missile towards its eastern sea. Japan said more than one missile was fired, although it did not immediately say how many. He said the missiles flew over his territory and landed in the Pacific Ocean. The Prime Minister’s Office has issued warnings to residents of northern Miyagi, Yamagata and Niigata prefectures, ordering them to enter company buildings or hide. No damage or injuries were reported in the areas where the alerts were issued. The Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul did not immediately confirm the type of missile detected or the distance the weapon traveled. The launches came a day after North Korea fired more than 20 missiles, the most it had ever fired in a single day. One of these missiles flew towards a populated South Korean island and landed near the rivals’ tense maritime border, triggering air raid sirens and forcing residents of Ulleung Island to evacuate. South Korea quickly responded by launching its own missiles into the same border area.
Wednesday’s launches came hours after North Korea threatened to use nuclear weapons to make the United States and South Korea “pay the most horrific price in history” in protest against ongoing South Korean-American military exercises which it sees as a rehearsal for a possible invasion.
North Korea last flew a missile over Japan in October in what it described as a test of a new intermediate-range ballistic missile, which experts say is potentially capable of to reach Guam, an important American military center in the Pacific. This launch forced the Japanese government to issue evacuation alerts and stop the trains. North Korea has ramped up its weapons demonstrations at a record pace this year. It has fired dozens of missiles, including its first demonstration of intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017, as it exploits the distraction created by Russia’s war in Ukraine to advance weapons development. The North has punctuated its testing with an escalating nuclear doctrine that authorizes preemptive nuclear attacks on a variety of loosely defined crisis situations. US and South Korean officials have said North Korea could up the ante in the coming weeks with its first detonation of a nuclear test device since September 2017.
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