Update 5: US Secretary of State Tillerson has issued a rather aggressive (towards China and Russia) statement:
North Korea's Missile Launch
North Korea's provocative missile launch represents the second time the people of Japan, a treaty ally of the United States, have been directly threatened in recent weeks.
These continued provocations only deepen North Korea's diplomatic and economic isolation.
United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the most recent unanimous sanctions resolution, represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take.
We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim regime.
China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor.
China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own.
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Update 4: The UN Security Council is set to meet at 4am Saturday Seoul time (3pm ET on Friday)
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Update 3: US Pacific Command has confirmed that its commitment to the defense of Japan and South Korea (via NBC News)
U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a single North Korean ballistic missile launch at 11:57 a.m. (Hawaii lime) Sept. 14. Initial assessment indicates the launch of an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM). The launch occurred in the vicinity of Sunan, North Korea and flew east.
The ballistic missile overflew the territory of northern Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean east of Japan. We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment and we will provide a public update if warranted.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined this ballistic missile did not pose a threat to North America, U.S. Pacific Command determined this ballistic missile did not pose a threat to Guam. We continue to monitor North Korea's actions closely.
Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad. We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation.
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Update 2: Japanese and South Korean officials have started to respond:
Japanese officials are very unappy (and are seeing much support from their ally in Washington)
- *JAPAN PM ABE HAS RETURNED TO JAPAN FROM INDIA: KYODO (that was quick)
- *ABE: N.KOREA ACT ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE
- *ABE: N.KOREA THREATENING WORLD PEACE THROUGH PROVOCATION
- *ABE: INTL COMMUNITY MUST SEND CLEAR MESSAGE TO N.KOREA (because "firs & fury" was not clear enough)
- *ABE: IF N.KOREA CONTINUES ON THIS PATH IT HAS NO BRIGHT FUTURE
- *ABE: JAPAN WAS COMPLETELY AWARE OF MISSILE MOVEMENT
- *SUGA: N. KOREA LAUNCH WAS ONE-WAY ACT OF ESCALATION
- *SUGA: MISSILE FLEW 3,700 KM, ALTITUDE ABOUT 800KM
- *SUGA: BELIEVE MISSILE WASN'T LAUNCHED VIA LOFTED TRAJECTORY
- *SUGA: STILL EVALUATING WHAT TYPE OF MISSILE N.KOREA LAUNCHED
Then it seems the South Koreans are gravely coincerned about their stock market more than any existential threat to their citizens...
- *S. KOREA TO STRENGTHEN MONITORING OVER MARKETS ON N. KOREA RISK
- *S. KOREA SAYS N. KOREA PROVOCATION CAN DESTABILIZE MARKETS
- *S. KOREA GOVT TO TAKE FIRM AND SWIFT STEPS ON MARKETS IF NEEDED
And just as we saw yesterday - after US officials noted that North Korea appeared to be preparing for a launch, we suspect we will see Korea's PPT in action soon...
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Update 1: According to Fox News, the U.S. has now confirmed the latest North Korean missile launch.
- U.S. OFFICIAL CONFIRMS #NORTHKOREA FIRED BALLISTIC MISSILE: FOX NEWS
- WHITE HOUSE SAYS TRUMP BRIEFED ON N.KOREA MISSILE: YONHAP NEWS
Gold and Yen are bid for now (after 3 NK headlines during the day)...
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All the diplomatic posturing, the jawboning, the UN sanctions, and threats over the past three weeks has achieved absolutely nothing because as Yonhap and NHK report, North Korea has just launched an "unidentified" missile eastward from the capital Pyongyang.
A live feed from NHK in English is available after clicking on the image below:
According to Yonhap, "North Korea fired an unidentified missile eastward from the vicinity of Pyongyang this morning," the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. It added that South Korea and the United States are analyzing additional information. On August 29, the North lobbed a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over the island nation in a similar provocation .
Following the launch Japan has issued a missile alert to mobile phones and on national television, with the government advising people outside to take shelter immediately.
Worse, it appears that the missile has once again flown over Japan:
- NORTH KOREA MISSILE PASSES OVER JAPAN, GOVT SAYS
- N.KOREA MISSILE PASSES OVER JAPAN'S HOKKAIDO, GOVT SAYS
As NHK further adds, the missile which was launched at 6:57am local time, passed over Hokkaido at 7:06am local time, and came down in the Pacific Ocean, some 2,000 KM east of Japan's Erimo Misaki.
The launch marks the North's first provocation following the UNSC sanctions for which the communist country has warned of retaliation.
The missile flew a total of 3,700 kilometers and reached an altitude of 770km, according to Yonhap, before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.
- NKOREA MISSILE MAY BE HWASONG 12, JP DEF OFFICIAL SAYS:TV ASAHI
Japan's cabinet minister Suga said that the missile situation is similar to that on August 29, NHK adds, and that Japan will take appropriate response in contact with the US and South Korea. NHK adds that Japan did not attempt to shoot down the missile though the South Korean military has confirmed it fired a test missile into the sea as part of training drill.
The South's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae immediately convened a National Security Council meeting, as the country's troops conducted a ballistic missile training in the East Sea in response to the North's latest provocation.
And now we await whether the US will finally escalate militarily, as Trump has threatened on countless occasions, or once again use even harsher, and more powerless, language hoping for a different outcome.