Speed Reads

Firing Two More

North Korea fires pair of ballistic missiles that could potentially reach Japan

North Korea fired a pair of medium-range rockets that could potentially reach Japan, the South Korean and Japanese governments said Sunday. 

According to The New York Timesthe missiles were fired from North Korea's Tongchangri region. They traveled about 310 miles before landings in the waters of the Korean Peninsula. Per The Associated Pressthe missiles were launched at a steep angle and reached an altitude of 340 miles, meaning they could potentially travel farther if launched in a more standard path. 

Japan's Vice Defense Minister Toshiro Ino criticized the missile launches for threatening the safety of the international community. This sentiment was echoed by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which said the American commitments to South Korea and Japan remained "ironclad."

The test launches come just days after Japan reinvigorated its national security strategy, something it had none done for nine years. The Japanese military also received a significant boost, and the country vowed to increase its military spending. Per the Times, the new plans "called for the officially pacifist Japan to acquire​ counterstrike abilities, including​ missiles that could be used to target bases in enemy territory in response to an attack.​"

The launches cap off a year in which the hermit state test-fired a record number of intercontinental ballistic missiles, including some that could also reach the United States. This rocket, the Hwasong-17, is the largest ICBM ever designed by North Korea, and its launch was overseen by North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un himself.