The North Korean government deliberately fired a missile over Japan Monday to wreak havoc and create divisions between America and its allies, experts say.
The ballistic missile flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific.
“If North Korea had launched the missile to the south, the U.S. might have viewed it as a considerable provocation and responded accordingly,” Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono told reporters in Tokyo.
Instead, the North Koreans took an action that likely would not provoke a confrontation. The missile was identified as an intermediate-range Hwasong-12, which would be capable of hitting the U.S. territory of Guam.
China foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the situation was “at a tipping point, approaching a crisis.”
The missile test was “perfectly calibrated to create political mischief,” Stephen Haggard, a Korea Expert at the University of California at San Diego, told The Washington Post.
“The launch shows how Kim Jong Un is weirdly conservative, calibrating tests so that they are difficult to counter, flying just beneath the radar of a required kinetic response,” Haggard said.
“This is not the action of a country that is interested in showing restraint or in creating a glide-path to dialogue, at least not on our terms,” said James Schoff of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The North Koreans fired missiles over Japan in 1998 and 2009, although those were satellite launches that were announced beforehand.
“In a way, it’s kind of a trial balloon,” Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told The Post. “If we overfly Japan, what happens? If the blowback isn’t too significant, they will feel more comfortable with launching a Hwasong-14 to a good distance to validate its performance on a normal trajectory.”
The Hwasong-14 is a larger missile capable of hitting U.S. soil.
“A missile launch across Japan is an outrageous act that poses an unprecedented, grave and serious threat, and significantly undermines the peace and security of the region,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
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