North Korea’s leadership is generally unbridled when it comes to flaunting its military might, on many occasions causing uneasiness amongst its neighbors. Led by tyrannical leader Kim Jong Un, the country has in the last few decades invested heavily in its military capabilities, which includes a nuclear programme. Historically, it has been at loggerheads with South Korea, but just two days ago, it fired a missile over Japan.
Hurtling over Hokkaido Island, which is situated to the north of the country, the incident drew international condemnation. In Japan, television broadcasts were interrupted as the government made efforts to alert its citizens of the imminent danger. Numerous bullet train routes were also halted.
Shinzo Abe, Japan’s Prime Minister is said to have spoken with U.S. President Donald Trump via telephone following the incident, telling reporters that they had discussed ways to put pressure on Kim Jong Un.
Although the missile is reported to have finally broken into three parts and landed in the sea, analysts believe it was part of a larger propaganda war orchestrated by the North Korean leader, who is said to have been present at its launch. The missile is categorized as intermediate-range and has the capability to reach American, Japanese, and South Korean military installations in Northeast Asia.
Currently, the Japanese government finds itself in an awkward and embarrassing situation after concerns were raised as to why the country did not attempt to intercept the projectile to protect its citizens. According to a Deutsche Welle report, the speed and altitude of the missile made it extremely hard to intercept.
The Hwasong-12 missile apparently flew over Japan at an altitude of 550 kilometers. Going by the statement release by Itsunori Onodera, the country’s Defense Minister, there was no substantial risk posed by the missile as it was not aimed at Japan, therefore no need to destroy it.
But according to Lance Gatling, a defense analyst, even American Aegis destroyers situated in the Sea of Japan, although equipped with Missile-3 interceptor missiles could not have stopped it as the timing, because of the speed and altitude, would certainly have been off. And even if they would have been successful in bringing it down, the consequent space junk would have caused significant hazard.
[Featured Image by South Korean Defense Ministry/Getty Images]