08/29/2017, 10.12
NORTH KOREA-JAPAN
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Pyongyang launches missile over Japan: 'unprecedented' threat

Shinzo Abe and Korean Kang Kyung-wha in talks with US allies. UN Security Council calls emergency session for this afternoon. Increased sanctions are expected to push the North into dialogue. But Pyongyang is able to circumnavigate them.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - North Korea launched a missile that missed the island of Hokkaido and then crashed into the sea. The Japanese premier spoke of an "unprecedented threat".

According to the South Korean army, the ballistic missile traveled for 2700 km, reaching a maximum height of 550 km, flew over Hokkaido at 6 (local time) and fell at 1,000 k from the Japanese coast after breaking into three pieces.

The missile appears to be of the Hwasong-12 type, capable of carrying nuclear warheads.  Joint military exercises between South Korean and US forces are currently underway in Hokkaido.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe commented that crossing Japan with the new missile poses " unprecedented, serious and important threat to security" and could "undermine peace and stability in the region."

The launch has brought the far east back to a situation of high tension. Over the past few weeks, after the launch of a missile by the North at the end of July, there was a war of words, with threats of attack between Pyongyang and Washington. But then everything seemed to quieten down.

Today's launch prompted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean Foreign Minister Ms. Kang Kyung-wha to urgently contact their US ally. In a telephone conversation, the importance of further pressure on North Korea was emphasized, prompting it to dialogue.

A new UN Security Council emergency meeting was set for this afternoon. On August 5, the UN voted new and heavier sanctions against Pyongyang, who had found the full support of Russia and China, the great ally of the North. The sanctions aimed to block North Korean exports of coal, iron, and fish products.

According to a report by UN experts, Pyongyang manages to circumvent sanctions in a number of ways: putting false labels on exported goods; Changing registrations of ships used, evading Chinese controls. Experts have identified several Southeast Asian countries as recipients of North Korean coal.

Over the past six months, two ships were intercepted between North Korea and Syria whose contents were unknown. According to sources in the UN dossier, their load was destined for a Syrian organization specialized in chemical weapons.

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