North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says missile test over Japan is ‘first step to containing Guam’

North Korea's leader advocates firing more missiles into the Pacific Ocean after shooting one over Japan

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Wednesday 30 August 2017 00:36 BST
North Korea's estimated missile ranges

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called the country’s latest missile test over Japan “a meaningful prelude to containing Guam” and said his country should conduct more missile tests into the Pacific Ocean, maintaining his country's defiant posture even as the United Nations convened an emergency meeting on containing the Korean threat.

Japan is on high alert after North Korea fired a missile over the island of Hokkaido, which prompted an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. The missile hurtled toward Japan as the United States and South Korea were conducting joint military exercises that North Korea has consistently denounced as an act of aggression.

Mr Kim was present to observe the test of the missile that flew over Japan, according to the Korean Central News Agency. The news service also said the projectile was a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile, the same type North Korea had threatened Guam with.

The Korean leader's remarkls remarks, conveyed via the Korean Central News Agency, a government mouthpiece, suggest that North Korea has no intention of changing the behavior guiding a recent spate of missile tests that have rattled east Asian countries and prompted tough talk from the United States. Donald Trump said North Korea had displayed “contempt for its neighbors” and that “all options are on the table” for a response.

Members of the United Nations Security Council released a statement calling the firing “outrageous” and pushing North Korea to discontinue further launches. The statement did not call for additional sanctions on North Korea, which saw the UN impose more financial restrictions earlier this month.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who had said prior to the meeting that “something serious has to happen” without providing additional details, said afterward that North Korea must recognize the “danger they are putting themselves in”.

An increasingly assertive North Korea has already prodded a response from the international community. The UN security council voted unanimously in early August to impose new sanctions that sought to inflict economic pain by banning coal and other exports.

North Korea's threat to Guam again thrust small Pacific island into a global struggle over North Korea's military ambitions. It was frequently invoked as the United States and North Korea traded belligerent rhetoric earlier this month, with Donald Trump's threat of punishing North Korea with “fear and fire” prompting North Korea's military to announce it was formulating plans to strike Guam.

North Korea subsequently signaled it was shelving the threat, drawing praise from Mr Trump. But a series of missile tests in recent days has again raised the temperature.

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