Japan: Siren sounds as North Korea fires missile overhead
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North Korea’s recent missile testing has caused grave concern in Asia and around the world. Japan and South Korea have seen missiles fly dangerously close to their territory and relations with the West have also continued to deteriorate. Earlier this week, Kim Jong-un warned the US that it will be met with “powerful measures” as he raged at joint drills between Washington and South Korea.
Kim said: “If the US continuously persists in the grave military provocations, [North Korea] will take into account more powerful follow-up measures.
“If [Washington] does not want any serious developments not suited to its security interests, it should stop the useless and ineffective war exercises at once. If not, it will have to totally take the blame for all the consequences.”
It is now feared that North Korea could test nuclear weapons in the future. So, what missiles does Pyongyang have at its disposal, and could North Korea target the UK?
One model of missile is the Hwasong. North Korea recently fired the Hwasong-12 over Japan – it has a range of 4,500km (2,800 miles), meaning Kim could use this missile to strike as far as the US island of Guam. The Hwasong-14 has a range of 8,000km-10,000km (4900 miles – 6,200 miles) which means it could be capable of hitting New York.
The Hwasong-15 has a range of 13,000km (8,000 miles), meaning all targets in the US would be under threat. The largest and most powerful weapon in North Korea’s arsenal is the Hawasong-17, which has a range of at least 15,000km (9,300 miles). It is also capable of carrying multiple warheads, making it harder to defend against.
The UK is approximately 5,500km (3,400 miles) away from North Korea. This means that, while the Hwasong-12 would be unable to reach the UK, the other Hwasong missiles would be able to target Britain if Kim wished to do so.
North Korea also boasts the Taepodong 1 and Taepodong 2 missiles. The first of the ranger weapons only has a range of 2,900km, but the second can hit targets nearly 7,000km away.
But would North Korea attack the UK? This is extremely unlikely, but the country has threatened the UK in the past.
In 2017, the country warned the UK of “a miserable end” as it told Britain not to take part in joint US-South Korea military exercises.
A statement released by the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency denounced Washington and Seoul as “warmongers” and said the annual drills were “provocative”.
It added: “We solemnly warn not only the US and [the] puppet group but also satellites, including [the] UK and Australia, which are taking advantage of the present war manoeuvres against the North, that they would face a miserable end if they join in.”
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North Korea also told the UK it would “pay the price” in 2020 after introducing further sanctions on Pyongyang. The economic measures were enforced to punish North Korea for its involvement in forced labour, torture and murder in the country’s prison camps.
Pyongyang’s state media reportedly said that “the United Kingdom, a puppet of the US, committed a provocation”.
North Korea’s foreign ministry said: “Britain’s latest move is a flagrant political plot to jump on the bandwagon of the United States’ inimical policy.
“We strongly condemn and reject the UK’s daring to impose sanctions on the institutions responsible for our country’s security as violent interference in domestic affairs.”
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