The Latest: Sirens blare, trains stop during missile flight
Sep. 15, 2017
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on another missile launch by North Korea (all times local):
An emergency response official on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido says business has been usual most of the morning after a North Korean missile flew over the island.
Warning sirens to alert residents blared twice — once immediately after the launch Friday and the second time just after the missile passed above their heads.
Hokkaido prefectural emergency official Shuji Koshida said local trains and subways briefly stopped for safety checks but there was no panicking or traffic jams.
Koshida said there were no reports of debris or damage and business was usual. It occurred while many people were still at home, waking up or getting ready for school or work.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo that the missile was in Japanese space from 7:04 a.m. to 7:06 a.m. before landing in the ocean about 2,200 kilometers (1,200 miles) east.
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull harshly condemned North Korea's missile launch as "reckless and dangerous," and called for even tougher punishments against Pyongyang.
"This is another example of why it is vitally important to continue to tighten those economic sanctions on North Korea," Turnbull said.
Earlier this week, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions on North Korea after it carried out its sixth and strongest nuclear test on Sept. 3.
Turnbull told reporters the launch Friday morning, along with "violent outbursts of North Korean propaganda threatening Japan and the United States overnight," were signs "that the sanctions are working."
He called for greater global action to deter North Korea from escalating hostilities, noting that China had the greatest economic leverage over Pyongyang.
The possibility of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un starting a war would be a "catastrophe," he said. "He would be signing a suicide note. That would be the end for his government, and thousands and thousands of people would die."
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is calling on all nations to take new measures against Kim Jong Un's regime after North Korea's latest missile launch.
He said Friday that U.N. Security Council resolutions approved earlier this week "represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take."
Tillerson's statement singled out China and Russia, which he said "must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own."
The resolutions prohibit any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers and cap Pyongyang's imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products. China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor.
Also, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono says he talked with Tillerson after the launch and they agreed on the need for the international society to come together to apply pressure on the North to follow the latest U.N. resolution.
President Moon Jae-in has instructed South Korean officials to pursue "stern" diplomatic and military measures to discourage North Korea from further provocations after its latest missile launch.
Presidential spokesman Park Su-hyun said Friday after a National Security Council meeting that Moon also called for stronger preparation against the threat of biological and chemical weapons attacks by the North.
Park says Moon also instructed officials to closely assess North Korean claims following its nuclear test on Sept. 3 that its nuclear weapons are capable of pulling off electromagnetic pulse attacks.
Electromagnetic pulse refers to an intense wave of electrical energy generated by the detonation of a nuclear weapon that could theoretically knock off electrical grids and communication facilities.
Moon also ordered his military to conduct a live-fire drill of the Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missile in a show of force. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff says the drill was conducted in consideration to the distance to an airport in Sunan, Pyongyang, which was about 250 kilometers (155 miles) away.
The JCS says the latest North Korean missile was fired from Sunan but didn't specify the airport as the launch site.
The U.N. Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting on North Korea's missile launch.
Ethiopia's U.N. Mission, which holds the council presidency this month, said closed-door consultations will take place Friday afternoon at the request of the United States and Japan.
The missile flew over northern Japan before falling into the Pacific and follows North Korea's sixth and most powerful nuclear test Sept. 3.
The launch also came days before world leaders gather at the United Nations starting Monday for their annual ministerial meeting. Earlier this week, the Security Council adopted new sanctions in response to the nuclear test that ban all textile exports and prohibit any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers — two key sources of hard currency for the country.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said that combined with previous sanctions the U.N. has now banned 90 percent of North Korea's exports reported in 2016.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has denounced North Korea's missile launch as a reckless act that trampled on efforts toward a peaceful solution.
Abe said Friday's launch came on the heels of the U.N. Security Council's resolution and "trampled on the international society's desire for a peaceful solution" and that "North Korea's reckless act is absolutely unacceptable."
Abe said the missile launch underscored the need to fully achieve the purpose of the U.N. Security Council sanctions that ban textile imports and prohibit new work permits for North Koreans in jobs abroad. Abe said international society needs solidarity now more than ever before.
Abe spoke Friday morning as he was returning from a visit to India.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has called the latest missile launch a reckless act by the North Koreans.
Mattis was at the U.S. Strategic Command headquarters in Nebraska at the time of the launch and said afterward the missile "was fired over Japan and put millions of Japanese in duck and cover."
The missile fired Friday morning Asia time flew over Japan's northern island of Hokkaido before landing in the Pacific. Warning messages were sent to residents.
Asked about a possible American military response, Mattis said, "I don't want to talk on that yet." He said President Donald Trump had been fully briefed on the event.
The U.S. Pacific Command says the North Korean missile fired over Japan was an intermediate range missile.
The Pacific Command said Friday that the North American Aerospace Defense Command determined the missile did not pose a threat to North America.
North Korea previously fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile over Japan on Aug. 29 in what it called a "meaningful prelude" to containing Guam and the start of more missile tests targeting the Pacific Ocean.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has denounced North Korea's latest launch, saying he is conveying "strong anger" on behalf of the Japanese people.
Suga says the missile flew over Japan's northern main island of Hokkaido and landed about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) off its eastern coast in the Pacific Ocean.
Suga says Japan "will not tolerate the repeated and excessive provocations."
South Korea's military says North Korea fired an unidentified missile from its capital Pyongyang that flew over Japan before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean.
It was the second aggressive test-flight over the territory of the close U.S. ally in less than a month and it followed the sixth and most powerful nuclear test by North Korea to date on Sept. 3.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday that the missile traveled about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles).
The joint chiefs say the missile was launched from Sunan, the site of Pyongyang's international airport.
The airport also was used to fire a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile that flew over northern Japan in what it declared a "meaningful prelude" to containing the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam and the start of more ballistic missile launches.
South Korea's military says North Korea fired an unidentified missile from its capital Pyongyang in a continuation of weapons tests following its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date on Sept. 3.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday that the missile was launched from Sunan, the site of Pyongyang's international airport.
The North last month used the airport to fire a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile that flew over northern Japan in what it declared as a "meaningful prelude" to containing the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam and the start of more ballistic missile launches targeting the Pacific Ocean.
South Korea's Defense Ministry says the country's military conducted a live-fire ballistic missile drill in response to the North's launch.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has scheduled a National Security Council meeting to discuss the launch.