North Korea Fired a Missile Over Japan — Should Aussies Be Worried?

In some news nobody wanted on October 4, North Korea fired a missile over Japan. As per The Guardian, this weapon was intermediate-ranged and ballistic in nature. It’s the first time such an event has happened in five years. 

This threat prompted folks in the northernmost main island of Hokkaido and the north-eastern Aomori prefecture to temporarily hide.

“North Korea appears to have launched a missile,” stated an alert. “Please evacuate into buildings or underground.”

How Has the Japanese Government Responded? 

Understandably, Japan wasn’t pleased with having a missile fired over their country. As Japan’s top government spokesperson, Hirokazu Matsuno, asserted, “North Korea’s series of actions, including its repeated ballistic missile launches, threatens the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community, and poses a serious challenge to the entire international community, including Japan.”

Moreover, Japan’s Defence Minister, Yasukazu Hamada, hasn’t ruled out attacking North Korea in response. According to the ABC, he said, “In light of this situation, we will continue to examine all options — including so-called ‘counterattack capabilities’ and not rule out anything.”

How Has the International Community Reacted to This News?

The Sydney Morning Herald has outlined that both America and South Korea have called this action “reckless.” The US Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, called it “dangerous and reckless.” Meanwhile, South Korea’s President, Yoon Suk-yeol, categorised it as “reckless nuclear provocations.”

Another person who called North Korea reckless was Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong. In a statement, she said, “The test was a reckless and unacceptable act that threatens the security of our neighbours and partners and undermines the stability of the Indo-Pacific.”

Wong also asserted, We urge North Korea to change course, abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and resume dialogue with the United States and the Republic of Korea.

But the international response to this situation hasn’t stopped there. Reuters has noted that the US and South Korea held a joint military exercise where they shot a volley of missiles into the ocean.

It’s worth noting that one of South Korea’s missiles malfunctioned and crashed into one of their military bases. Fortunately, nobody was hurt during the said accident, and the military has since apologised. 

Related: North Korea Tested Some Dangerous Ballistic Missiles

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Has North Korea Commented on This Situation? 

North Korea hasn’t made any official statements on this matter. However, The New York Times has detailed that this country has instead fired two short-range ballistic missiles towards Japan’s economic exclusion zone.

The Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, has labelled these two additional launches as “absolutely unacceptable.”

Could a North Korean Missile Hit Australia? 

Britannica has stated that intermediate-range ballistic missiles can be fired from between 965 km and 5,600 km.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that North Korea has top-of-the-range intermediate ballistic missiles, that could, in theory, be enough to hit Australia.

From North Korea’s most southern point to Australia’s most northern, it’s only about 5,600 kms. Hypothetically, if North Korea really wanted to, they could take out Darwin.

It’s probably worth noting here that North Korea does indeed have missiles that could be capable of flying 10,000 kms, bringing all of Australia into the firing line.

It’s almost certainly nothing to worry about, however, given that there’s very little reason Australia would be anywhere near the top of the list of targets if North Korea decided to start firing.

What Happened the Last Time North Korea Fired a Missile Over Japan? 

The last time that this terrifying event took place was in September of 2017. At the time, the BBC reported that South Korea responded to this action by firing two ballistic missiles into the sea near North Korea. Moreover, this was just minutes after North Korea’s launch. 

After North Korea’s military action took place, CNN called it a “major show of defiance to the international community.”

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