North Korea is not backing down. Flouting international condemnation, the isolated rogue nation fired a ballistic missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido Friday.
The launch is the second to fly over Japan in less than a month, and it follows North Korea’s sixth nuclear test in early September that prompted a new round of sanctions from the United Nations against Pyongyang.
Japan and the United States have responded to the latest provocation by calling for a meeting of the UN Security Council Friday ahead of the council’s meeting next week.
The launch of the missile came just a few hours after North Korea responded to the UN Security Council’s unanimous approval of more sanctions by threatening to “sink” Japan and reduce the American mainland into “ash and darkness.”
The latest round of UN sanctions was prompted by North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on September 3, which North Korea said was a successful test of a hydrogen bomb.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the launch was “totally unacceptable” and went against “the international community’s strong, united will for a peaceful solution.”
Friday’s missile test triggered sirens as a government warning was sent out to people living in northern Japan.
South Korea responded to the latest missile launch by North Korea by conducting an exercise that included a missile launch that the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said was capable of striking the Sunan airport launch site near Pyongyang used for Friday’s launch.
CNN reported that early U.S. assessments suggested that North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile, similar to that fired over Japan last month. The missile flew about 2,300 miles and reached an altitude of 480 miles before landing in the Pacific Ocean. Friday’s missile flew the furthest of any North Korean intermediate-range missiles, according to CNN. North Korea also has launched intercontinental ballistic missiles.
North Korea also is telling the United States through its latest missile launch that it can reach the U.S. territory of Guam, which North Korea threatened to attack in August. Guam is home to large U.S. military facilities and is 2,100 miles from North Korea.