President Donald Trump said Tuesday that “all options are on the table” after North Korea fired a missile over Japan, an act that instantly renewed tensions in the region just days after the regime appeared to be backing down from threats against the United States and its allies.
“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior,” President Trump said, in a written statement released by the White House Tuesday.
“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table,” the statement went on.
North Korea on Tuesday fired a mid-range ballistic missile which is designed to carry a nuclear payload, the missile flew over U.S. ally Japan and splashed into the northern Pacific Ocean, it is the first time the Regime fired a missile over Japan.
The type of missile and test of distance seemed was carried out by design, to highlight that North Korea can back up the talk and target the U.S. territory of Guam, if it chooses to do so, while also cementing a potentially dangerous precedent that could see future launches flying over Japan.
Any new missile test worries Washington and its closest allies because it appears to put North Korea a step closer toward its goal of an arsenal of nuclear capable missiles that can reliably target the United States. Tuesday’s test, however, appears especially aggressive to Washington, Seoul and Tokyo because the missile actually flew over Japan.
The DOD told reporters that it was investigating the launch over Japan, adding: “North American Aerospace Defense Command determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.” The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said the Japanese military did not attempt to intercept the missile.
South Korea’s armed forces effectively fired back at North Korea’s missile launch over Japan by holding a live-fire drill involving very powerful bombs, officials said early Tuesday.
Four F-15 fighters dropped eight MK-84 bombs that hit targets with precision at a military field near South Korea’s eastern coast, Seoul’s presidential spokesman Park Su-hyun said. Each MK-84 bomb has an explosive yield of a ton, according to the country’s military.
Tuesday’s latest missile launch comes just mere days after the North fired what was assessed as three short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and a month after its second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which military analysts say could reach deep into the mainland of the United States when perfected.
The Associated Press and Fox News contributed to this report.