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North Korea Fires Missile into Waters Off Japan

Pyongyang (July 4, 2017): North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile on Tuesday from North Pyong’an Province that flew into waters east of the Korean Peninsula, said South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The projectile may have landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from its coastline, Takahiro Hirano, Public Affairs Officer from Japan’s Ministry of Defense said.

The missile traveled over 930 kilometers (578 miles) according to South Korea’s military, and Japanese officials reported that its flight time was 40 minutes.

The launch comes amid signs that US President Donald Trump is growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress in curbing North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Trump reacted to the launch late Monday on Twitter. “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” he asked, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”

On Friday, Trump declared US patience with North Korea was “over” and on Sunday he spoke with the leaders of both China and Japan, two important regional actors in the ongoing standoff with Pyongyang.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the launch “ignores repeated warnings from the international community,” and that “the launch this time shows its threat was further increased.”

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said the launch was “extremely problematic” and a clear violation of UN resolutions.

“Japan cannot tolerate NK’s repeated provocative acts and (has) lodged stern protests against North Korea.”

Trump has repeatedly urged China, North Korea’s neighbor to the north and one of the only countries in the region with diplomatic ties to Pyongyang, to bring its influence to bear on the issue. He recently tweeted that Chinese efforts on North Korea, while appreciated, had “not worked out.”

On Monday Liu Jieyi, China’s ambassador to the UN, warned of the risk of escalating tensions on the peninsula.

“Certainly we would like to see a de-escalation of tension,” he said in remarks to the press as China assumes the United Nations Security Council presidency for July.

“Certainly if tension goes up and goes up only then sooner or later it will get out of control and the consequences will be disastrous.”

Courtesy: CNN

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