North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Tuesday that flew over Japan for the first time in five years, the South Korean government said, triggering alerts across Japan. Tuesday’s North Korean launch put U.S. military bases in Guam within reach. The launch of the ballistic missile (IRBM ) took place from North Korea’s northern Jagang province at around 7:23 a.m. local time, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. Television alerts warned residents in Tokyo and across northern Japan’s Hokkaido and Aomori prefectures to take cover.
The U.S. government condemned the launch and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called his Japanese and South Korean counterparts to coordinate a response, the White House said. Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called Tuesday’s launch “outrageous,” and said Japan strongly protested the action. South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol promised a resolute response. Both leaders said they would convene the National Security Council to discuss the situation.
In South Korea, a new conservative government that took office in May has emphasized deterrence over diplomatic engagement, raising concerns over potential cycles of escalation and counter-escalation, including more missile tests from North Korea.