A test of a short-range ballistic missile by North Korea in the early hours of Monday morning has led to South Korea’s new president calling an emergency meeting of his nation’s National Security Council, CNBC reports.
According to Fox News, a statement from the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii confirmed that the missile was launched at 5:40 a.m. Monday North Korean time — 4:40 p.m. Sunday Eastern Time — from Wonsan on North Korea’s eastern coast. It stayed aloft for approximately six minutes before it splashed into the Sea of Japan, the statement noted.
The missile was of the Scud series, the Soviet-developed short-range missile that became widely known for its usage during the first Iraq War in 1991.
Unlike most of North Korea’s recent launches, the missile fired early Monday was not of a new class of weapons. The North Koreans have a considerable stockpile of Scuds, which can fly up to 620 miles in modified trim; Monday’s launch only flew 280 miles.
However, the missile launch was the third since South Korean President Moon Jae In was elected and sworn in on May 10, which was enough to press President Moon into calling a meeting of his National Security Council.
Japan was swift to act, as well.
“As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in remarks to the press. “Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea.”
“We cannot tolerate such repeated actions from North Korea, and we have lodged a strong protest against North Korea, criticizing them in the strongest form,” said Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
The White House said that President Donald Trump had been briefed on the launch, but offered no further details.
The test comes two days after Abe and Trump agreed to expand sanctions on North Korea at the G7 summit. The White House said that would include “identifying and sanctioning entities that support North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs,” according to Reuters.
Will sanctions be enough? They haven’t worked yet. Kim Jong Un continues his provocations unabated. It’s clear that a strong statement needs to be sent to the North Koreans — but part of the problem for the global community, it seems, is figuring out just what that entails.
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