North Korea Fires Missile Over Japan In Longest-Ever Flight

Guam Homeland Security: missile posed no threat to the island, agency had no further comment on North Korea's possible ability to reach Guam

By John Borja, Jerick Sablan and Masako Watanabe

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, September 15, 2017) – The intermediate-range missile North Korea launched over northern Japan Friday morning was its longest-ever such flight and a clear message of defiance to its rivals.

North Korea may now be capable of delivering a missile to Guam, the Japanese broadcaster NHK reported, quoting a former commander of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Friday's missile traveled about 2,300 miles and reached a maximum height of about 500 miles, according to Japanese and South Korean officials. The missile flew for about 19 minutes before landing in the ocean, according to the Japan Ministry of Defense.

Guam is located about 2,100 miles from Pyongyang.

The missile triggered sirens and warning messages in northern Japan, but caused no apparent damage.

It was the second missile fired over Japan in less than a month. North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3. 

Flew for about 19 minutes

The Japanese government said the missile was launched over Japan at 6:57 a.m. (7:57 a.m. Guam time). No attempt was made to shoot down the missile, the Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the missile may be the same type as the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile test-fired on Aug. 29, NHK reported.

The ballistic missile reportedly flew over northern Japan and fell into the Pacific Ocean about 1,367 miles off the cape of Erimo in Hokkaido.

Japan's government advised people to stay away from anything that could be missile debris.

No threat to Guam, local officials say

Guam Homeland Security said Friday morning the missile posed no threat to the island. The agency had no further comment on North Korea's possible ability to reach Guam.

"The launch was detected out of Sunan, North Korea and determined not to be a threat to Guam or the Marianas," Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense said in a statement. 

“The launch out of North Korea does not come as a surprise rather, it reminds us to always keep our emergency plans in place for any contingency,” Homeland Security Advisor George Charfauros said in the statement. “Our office will continue to work closely with our military and federal partners to monitor the situation and provide information in a timely manner.”

Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo, in a statement, said the latest missile launch is a provocation of the international community and demonstrates the regime's unwillingness to halt its destabilizing actions.

"The United States is firm in our absolute and unwavering commitment to the security of Guam, as well as our allies in Japan, South Korea, and the region," she said.

Bordallo said the Trump administration should intensify its efforts to work with the international committee, especially China, to make clear that North Korea’s latest action is abhorrent and will not be tolerated.

“Our community should be reassured that the (Department of Defense) is prepared to protect Guam and keep our island safe,” she said.

Sen. Frank Aguon, Jr., D-Yona, said he's confident in the systems in place to protect the island.

"However, at some point, we must stop pretending that our lives will continue without change one missile threat after another. Any threat from North Korea, directly or indirectly, must always be taken seriously," Aguon said.

Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, Jr., D-Dededo, said residents should have faith that the island is protected. 

Pacific Daily News
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