SEOUL, South Korea | North Korea conducted its longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile Friday, sending an intermediate-range weapon hurtling over U.S. ally Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean in a launch that signals both defiance of its rivals and a big technological advance.
Since U.S. President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” in August, the North has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, threatened to send missiles into the waters around the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam and launched two missiles of increasing range over Japan. July saw its first tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.
The growing frequency, power and confidence displayed by these tests seem to confirm what governments and outside experts have long feared: North Korea is closer than ever to its goal of building a military arsenal that can viably target both U.S. troops in Asia and the U.S. homeland. This, in turn, is meant to allow North Korea greater military freedom in the region by raising doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a U.S. city to protect its Asian allies.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the missile launch as a serious violation of Security Council resolutions coming less than two weeks after the North’s sixth nuclear test, which also violated a U.N. ban.
The Security Council scheduled an emergency closed-door meeting Friday afternoon in New York. On Monday, it unanimously approved its toughest sanctions yet on North Korea over its nuclear test.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the latest missile…
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