North Korea, in a major show of defiance to the international community, fired a ballistic missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido, on Friday.
The launch is the second to fly over Japan in less than a month, and the first since North Korea’s sixth nuclear test. This missile launch comes after UN Security Council members voted unanimously to restrict oil imports and ban textile exports to North Korea in response to the previous nuclear test, which had violated UN resolutions.
The missile fired over Japan into the sea had the range to hit the US territory of Guam. It reached an altitude of about 770km (478 miles), travelling a worrisome 3,700km past Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido before landing in the sea, South Korea’s military says. It is the furthest any North Korean ballistic missile has ever travelled over ground, Joseph Dempsey of the International Institute for Strategic Studies said in a tweet.
World leaders to amp up pressure on North Korea
Tokyo and Washington will seek to up the pressure at the United Nations, with the two governments calling a snap meeting of the Security Council for Friday afternoon, ahead of the General Assembly next week.
Speaking after the launch, the first since North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the launch which was “totally unacceptable” and went against “the international community’s strong, united will for a peaceful solution.” He said his country would “never tolerate” such “dangerous provocative action.” China and Russia, allies of North Korea, also condemned the test, coming as it did after the North’s nuclear bomb test on 3 September.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have called for a resumption of direct talks with Pyongyang to de-escalate the crisis, Kremlin stated.
The role of China and Russia
Though they have publicly condemned the missile launch, China and Russia have close ties with North Korea. Chinese imports account for 90% of all of North Korean imports. Chinese oil supplies to North Korea must be halted until a peaceful solution has been arrived at. Russia’s use of North Korea’s forced labor from migrant workers is an area where the country may take direct action against the Kim regime. China and Russia must comprehensively and strictly implement the resolutions of the UN Security Council to reach a diplomatic and peaceful solution to the potential crisis.
The international community must unite to send a clear message after North Korea’s provocation. North Korea’s deplorable firing of yet another ballistic missile is a clear and brazen violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. North Korea is a very real threat that poses a great challenge to international peace and security.
Pyongyang must recognize that these continued provocations will only deepen its diplomatic and economic isolation. To ensure a peaceful future for the citizens of the country, it must abandon its destructive goals of reducing the US to ashes and darkness. Venting their spite with mobilization of all retaliation is a path of non-diplomacy that will lead to the breakdown of the non-violent diplomatic agreements made between major powers of the world, developing into a world war.