UN chief condemns DPR Korea missile launch over Japan as ‘reckless act’
The UN Secretary-General on Tuesday strongly condemned the launch of a ballistic missile by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), more commonly known as North Korea, which reportedly travelled over Japan.
The missile launch was the first to violate Japan’s air space since 2017, and the intermediate-range ballistic missile fell into the Pacific Ocean well away from the mainland.
Sirens in Japan
Residents in parts of northern Japan were reportedly woken by sirens and text alerts, and warned to watch out for possible falling debris.
News reports said the missile travelled some 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) – the longest distance ever travelled by a North Korean weapon - reaching a height of 1,000km.
Last week, Japan, the United States and South Korea, held joint naval exercises for the first time since 2017, according to news reports, and following Tuesday’s launch, the three countries said they would be working closely together in conjunction with the wider international community, to coordinate an immediate and longer-term response to North Korea’s move – the fifth missile launch in just a week.
Two rockets were launched by DPRK on Saturday, outside the boundary of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
UN Security Council resolutions forbid North Korea from conducting ballistic or nuclear weapons tests.
“This was a reckless act and a violation of Security Council resolutions”, said UN chief António Guterres, in a statement issued by his Spokesperson.
“It is also of serious concern that the DPRK has again disregarded any consideration for international flight or maritime safety.”
Return to talks
Mr. Guterres urged North Korea to “resume dialogue with the key parties concerned with a view to achieving sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
In March, Mr. Guterres condemned the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which was DPRK’s first long-range test since 2017. Just a month earlier, DPRK also flouted its own 2018 moratorium with an intermediate-range ballistic launch.
North Korea has carried out 23 different weapons tests so far this year.