Since President Donald Trump threatened the North with “fire and fury” in August, Pyongyang has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, threatened to send missiles into the waters around Guam and launched two missiles of increasing range over U.S. ally Japan. It tested its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, AP reports.
The growing frequency, power and confidence displayed by these tests seem to confirm what governments and outside experts have long feared: North Korea is closer than ever to its goal of building a military arsenal that can viably target both U.S. troops in Asia and the U.S. homeland. This, in turn, is meant to allow North Korea greater military freedom in the region by raising doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a U.S. city to protect its Asian allies.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) and reached a maximum height of 770 kilometers (478 miles).
Read alsoN.Korea's ambitions have nothing to do with Kyiv and everything to do with Moscow - Atlantic CouncilNorth Korea has repeatedly vowed to continue these tests amid what it calls U.S. hostility — by which it means the presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Japan and South Korea. Robust diplomacy on the issue has been stalled for years, and there’s little sign that senior officials from Pyongyang and Washington might sit down to discuss ways to slow the North’s determined march toward inclusion among the world’s nuclear weapons powers.
Friday’s missile, which Seoul said was the 19th ballistic missile launched by North Korea this year, triggered sirens and warning messages in northern Japan but caused no apparent damage to aircraft or ships.
It was the second missile fired over Japan in less than a month. North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.
Read alsoUkraine condemns DPRK ballistic missile launchThat missile is linked to North Korea’s declaration that it means to contain the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam, which is the home of important U.S. military assets and appears well within the Hwasong-12′s range.