Today, off the northwest coast of Japan, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea. It was reported that the missiles were most likely not intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), which, has been reported earlier, have the range to reach the West Coast of the United States. Japan’s Defense Minister, Tomomi Inada, reported that at least one of the four missiles landed as close as 300km (190 miles) from the northwest coast.
According to Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman:
There were four that landed. There may be a higher number of launches that we’re not commenting on. But four landed and splashed in the Sea of Japan.
The White House condemned the provocative behavior of the North Koreans and told reporters the United States was taking steps to enhance their defensive posture by deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea. Despite angry objections from China, South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn said Seoul will swiftly deploy the anti-missile system, and the United States could have the system installed far earlier than the original target date.
At a daily news briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang noted, at the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress, the actions of North Korea. He said, referring to both the missile launches and the United States-South Korea military exercises:
All sides should exercise restraint and not do anything to irritate each other to worsen regional tensions.
Trump’s national security team has reviewed a wide variety of options to counter the North Korean threat, but the administration officially played down the prospects for any direct military actions. The focus of the White House will be to impose new sanctions on North Korea and press China to rein in Pyongyang. Previous sanctions have proven to be ineffective, as missile tests have continued.
Tensions are very high in the region, adding to the pressures the White House is already under.