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People's Daily Online

Japan protests latest DPRK missile launch, analyzing ICBM claims

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 18:57, July 04, 2017

Japan has said it is currently analyzing claims by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) that it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) earlier Tuesday.

Japan has condemned the launch as a provocative act and lodged a strong protest with Pyongyang through its diplomatic channels.

Japan's Defense Minister Tomomi Inada told a press briefing on the matter that the missile, launched at around 9:39 a.m local time, achieved a higher altitude than any other missile test by the DPRK.

She also said the missile likely flew over a distance shorter than the range that it was capable of, on a steep trajectory.

Government sources said separately that the missile reached an altitude higher than 2,500 km and said that if it had been launched at a regular trajectory, it would have a range of more than 4,000 km.

Inada declined to state if the defense ministry had any more information on the exact type of missile launched. however, she said that it could be a new type of ballistic missile from the one that was fired on May 14, or an upgraded version of the same or similar type.

The defense minister's comments came after the DPRK made an unprecedented announcement after the launch that it had successfully launched an ICBM.

Prior to Inada's remarks, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the launch, stating in a press conference that the threat from the DPRK was increasing.

The prime minister's comments came after it was assessed that the ballistic missile likely landed in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) surrounding Japanese waters.

Abe said he will continue to liaise closely with leaders from South Korea and the United States on the matter, with trilateral talks pegged for the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, which will be held from July 7-8.

Abe further said that he wants to make use of world leaders gathering at the G-20 summit to strongly appeal for coordination by the international community in responding to the DPRK.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, meanwhile, said that Japan had lodged a strong protest with the DPRK over its latest missile launch.

The top government spokesperson said that Japan can absolutely not tolerate these repeated provocative acts, and that a stern protest had been lodged with Pyongyang through its diplomatic channels in Beijing.

Suga said that the missile likely landed within Japan's EEZ but that so far no damage to vessels or planes in the area had been reported.

He said the ballistic missile was launched from the DPRK's western coast at around 9:39 a.m local time and flew for about 40 minutes before falling in Japan's EEZ in the Sea of Japan.

The prime minister has instructed all relevant government officials to do all they can to gather and analyze information and provide it to the public quickly and appropriately, Suga said, adding that Abe had said it was paramount to swiftly confirm the safety of aircraft and vessels, and be fully prepared for further unexpected events.

The DPRK is banned by the United Nations from testing nuclear and ballistic missile technologies and has been slapped with multiple international sanctions for persistently breaking U.N. resolutions.

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