North Korea Fires Missile Over Japan In Escalation Of Weapons Tests

Early Tuesday morning, Japanese residents received notification that North Korea had fired a dangerous ballistic missile over the country without any warning, and residents were instructed to seek shelter.

This marks the first time North Korea has fired a weapon over Japanese soil in five years, prompting sharp condemnation from Japanese officials.

According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missile launched from North Korea’s central border with China at around 7:23 a.m. local time. The trajectory of the missile included a period of 20 minutes over the Japanese island of Honshu for a distance of over 2,800 miles. Once roughly 1,800 miles offshore, the missile crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

There have been no reports of injury or damage.

Nonetheless, the missile launch represents another episode in North Korea’s recent acts of aggression. They have already launched 23 missile tests this year, including five launches in the past 10 days.

Ankit Panda, a senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, expressed that he interprets the escalation in missile tests as North Korea asserting that they will continue to develop nuclear weapons.

“It is quite possible that the United States, South Korea, and Japan will take away a message from this missile test that North Korea is continuing to assert itself to show that it has the ability to deliver nuclear weapons to targets including the US territory of Guam,” said Panda. “If such a crisis were to play out, it would play out under a significantly more advanced North Korean nuclear capability, which I think would significantly limit the options that the United States and South Korea would have, potentially to retaliate or manage escalation with North Korea.”

One of the missile tests occurred just hours after Vice President Kamala Harris departed South Korea in an apparent act of defiance against the United States. During her visit, Harris gave a speech at the border between North Korea and South Korea, reinforcing the United States’ commitment to the defense of South Korea.

During the speech, Harris mistakenly referred to South Korea as North Korea, before correcting herself in subsequent remarks. She had just met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and visited the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea.

“The United States shares a very important relationship, which is an alliance with the Republic of North Korea,” Harris accidentally said during her speech.