North Korea to launch Musudan missile; Japanese military on high alert

North Korea President Kim Jong-un
North Korea President Kim Jong Un

Japan’s military is on high alert for a likely North Korean missile launch on 21 June and its navy and anti-missile batteries have been instructed to shoot down any hostile missile heading towards it.

North Korea has recently moved an intermediate-range missile to its east coast.

Tension has built up in the region ever since North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and followed it up with a satellite launch and test launches of various missiles. This has made Japan put its anti-ballistic missile forces on the alert several times.

If North Korea prepares for the launch of intermediate-range Musudan missile, which it had attempted to launch in May, Japan might put its military on high alert. The missile reportedly has a range of 3,000 km to 4,000 km which, if fired successfully, could reach targets in Japan, China, and Guam.

If North Korea goes ahead with the launch it would isolate the country from the global community, said South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho June-hyuck.

Though United Nations resolutions ban it from any use of ballistic missile technology, North Korea regularly fires short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast.

China, North Korea’s key ally, has urged President Kim Jong Un to return to negotiating table and destroy its nuclear programme.