Global Ballistic Missile Threats Beginning to Outpace US Defense Capability

Latest North Korea missile launch lands near Japan waters alarms Tokyo

By Ju-min Park and James Pearson

The mid-range Rodong missile, which was not carrying a warhead, slammed into waters within Japan's exclusive economic zone after being test fired from launch site roughly 1,000 kilometers away in southwestern North Korea.

Power said the South Korea missile defense system was "purely defensive" and aimed exclusively at protecting the South Korean people and USA and other forces stationed there from North Korean ballistic missiles.

Wednesday's launch, which occurred at about 7:50 a.m. Seoul time, was from a region in South Hwanghae province to the southwest of the capital, Pyongyang, the South Korea's Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. "But it's reasonable to believe the North Korean missile program would also have Busan as one of its targets", he told The New Daily.

Roh described the move as a "political show" by the conservative government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which wants to build a stronger military by stressing to its people how risky North Korean missiles are.

North Korea's latest ballistic missile launches will be condemned by the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Samantha Power predicted following an emergency meeting.

While the worldwide community has been unanimous in the condemnation of the North's actions, top NK diplomat to the United States Han Son Ryol stated that the Communist regime's launch of the ballistic missiles is an act of self-defense.

"The Czech Foreign Ministry calls on North Korea to stop ballistic missile tests, to observe the worldwide commitments arising from the relevant United Nations resolutions relating to ballistic technologies and the nuclear programme and to stop any actions that might step up the tension in the region", the ministry said on its web page.

Aerial footage shows Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force aircraft and ships as they approach what appears to be a metal casing of a North Korean missile which crashed into the Sea of Japan off the Oga Peninsula in Akita Prefecture.

On July 19 it launched three ballistic missiles - including one Rodong - in an exercise that the North said simulated a nuclear strike on the South. Japan is not ready to attack North Korea, but it is no secret that Japan is fed up with North Korean threats.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is "deeply troubled" by the latest test launch, his spokesman said, adding that "such actions seriously undermine regional peace and stability". After several failures, the North put its first satellite into space aboard a long-range rocket in December 2012, and conducted another successful satellite launch in February.

Japan has been particularly wary of North Korea's military aims.

Last month, South Korea announced it will deploy the advanced U.S Terminal High Altitude Air Defense missile defense system in Seongju County, about 155 miles (250 kilometers) southeast of Seoul.

South Korean military officials were analyzing what type of missile it was and how far it flew, according to Seoul's Defense Ministry.

Some also suggest that the North this time round targeted Japan in order to drive a wedge between China and the US' alliances with Japan and South Korea.

U.S. Strategic Command said it detected what it thought was the simultaneous launch of the missiles, CNN reported. The Rodong is a scaled-up Scud variant with a maximum range of around 1,300 kilometres (800 miles).

He stressed the importance of using dialogue and negotiations to solve the issue and pointed to "factors contributing to tension in the Korean Peninsula" in an apparent reference to the controversial US antimissile system that Seoul and Washington agreed last month to install in South Korea. North Korea describes the drills as an invasion rehearsal. The two Koreas remain technically at war under a truce that ended fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War.

But her appointment could undermine Japan's military alliance with South Korea and jeopardize relations with China, which improved after Abe publicly apologized previous year for World War II atrocities committed by Japan.

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