Early Monday morning, North Korea reportedly fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, defying UN Security Council resolutions. Military officials in South Korea, Japan, and the United States all confirmed the launch the four projectiles which traveled about 620 miles towards the Sea of Japan, also referred to as the East Sea, with a fifth missile failing to launch. According to CNN, one U.S. official said they were intermediate-range missiles.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Japanese Parliament that North Korea’s tests were “an extremely dangerous action.”
“The launches are clearly in violation of [U.N.] Security Council resolutions. It is an extremely dangerous action,” he said.
Japan’s Defense Minister, Tomomi Inada, said that some of the missiles landed approximately 190 miles from the Japan’s northwest coast, which falls within the 200-nautical-mile area where Tokyo has sovereign rights.
Hwang Kyo-ahn, South Korea’s acting president, called on the United States to complete the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system which the two countries announced would be deployed to the region. After the announcement was made in July, North Korea threatened “counter-action” that would turn South Korea into a “sea of fire.”
On Monday, while speaking to the South Korean National Security Council, Kyo-ahn condemned North Korea’s ballistic missile firings.
“This is a direct challenge to the international community and a grave violation,” he said.
“Having seen the brutality of North Korea from Kim Jong Nam, I’d say the consequences of the Kim Jong Un regime having nuclear weapons will be horrible,” he continued, referring to the reported assassination of Kim Jong Un’s brother at an airport in Malaysia last month.
In a statement, U.S. State Department’s acting spokesman Mark Toner called North Korea’s actions “provocations” that only encourage the international community to retaliate, referring to North Korea as DPRK, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The DPRK’s provocations only serve to increase the international community’s resolve to counter the DPRK’s prohibited weapons of mass destruction programs,” Toner said.
The State Department added that it is “prepared to use the full range of capabilities at our disposal against this growing threat.”