DPRK's latest missile launch puts Guam within range

Updated 2017-09-15 15:31:42 CGTN

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) blasted a missile over Japan in the early hours of Friday, which reached a distance of 3,700 kilometers before falling into the Pacific, prompting a global uproar.

The reach of the latest launch has brought the focus back on the US Pacific territory of Guam, which sits 3,400 kilometers from Pyonyang, and has often been a target of DPRK's saber-rattling.

The missile reached an altitude of about 770 kilometers and flew for about 19 minutes over a distance of about 3,700 kilometers before it fell in the Pacific, according to Republic of Korea (ROK) military – far enough to reach Guam.

The Pentagon confirmed the missile fired was an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) and said it did not pose any threat to North America.

Guam's Homeland Security also asserted that Friday's missile launch posed no threat to the island. "The launch was detected out of Sunan, North Korea (DPRK) 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 does not come as a surprise rather, it reminds us to always keep our emergency plans in place," it added.

Guam was specifically threatened by DPRK in 2013 and again last month, following a fiery exchange of threats and rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and the DPRK government.

The small island in the Western Pacific is the closest US territory to DPRK and hosts two important U.S. military installations. One is Andersen Air Force Base, from which the U.S. has been staging B-1 bomber flights over the Korean Peninsula, often in response to Pyongyang's missile tests.

The U.S. flew bombers over DPRK following Pyongyang's two successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

ROK responds with missile launch

Meanwhile Republic of Korea (ROK) President Moon Jae-in convened a National Security Council (NSC) meeting as the military conducted ballistic missile training in the East Sea in response to the Pyongyang's latest provocation.

The military fired the Hyunmoo-II missile with the range to reach DRPK's Sunan airfield, which is the "origin of provocation," the ROK's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The quick response represents the military's combat readiness, it said in a statement.

UNSC to hold emergency meeting

The latest provocation by Pyongyang drew immediate condemnation from the global community, with the UN Security Council announcing it will hold an emergency meeting on Friday over the missile launch.

The US and Japan requested the meeting, which will be held at 1900 GMT, according to the Ethiopian council presidency. The meeting will be closed-door, diplomats said.

Pyongyang's latest launch came after the Security Council imposed an eighth set of sanctions on DPRK over its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program.

DPRK had on Wednesday vowed to accelerate its weapons program in response to being slapped with the "evil" sanctions.

"Dangerous provocative action"

Japan was jolted awake in the early hours of Friday by alarms ringing as the word spread that the DPRK had blasted yet another missile over its northern island of Hokkaido, the second such launch in less than a month.

Warning announcements about the missile blared around 7 am (2200 GMT Thursday) in the town of Kamaishi, northern Japan, footage from national broadcaster NHK showed.

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