Japan PM says UN sanctions on North Korea must be firmly imposed

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the international community must send a clear message to North Korea over its provocative actions. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters, AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday (Sept 15) that United Nations sanctions on North Korea needed to be firmly imposed.

Abe, speaking to reporters, said that the international community must send a clear message to North Korea over its provocative actions.

North Korea fired a missile on Friday that flew over Japan's northern Hokkaido far out into the Pacific Ocean, South Korean and Japanese officials said, further ratcheting up tensions after Pyongyang's recent test of a powerful nuclear bomb.

Japan's chief government spokesman said on Friday Tokyo wants to consider various responses to North Korea's latest missile launch in cooperation with the United States, South Korea, China and Russia.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that North Korea's missile launch was a provocative action that raises regional tensions. He also said it was extremely problematic for the safety of aircraft and ships because the missile was fired without advance notice.

Its last missile launch, a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile just over two weeks ago, also overflew Japan - its first to do so for years - sparking emergency sirens and text alerts, before coming down in the Pacific Ocean.

Friday's missile flew over Hokkaido in northern Japan "at around 07:06 am towards the Pacific Ocean", Japan's J-Alert system said, with reports saying it came down around 2,000 km east of Hokkaido.

"Japan can never tolerate this repeated provocative action by North Korea," Tokyo's top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

"We have strongly protested to the North, telling them of the strong anger by the Japanese people and condemn with the strongest words possible."

The launch comes a day after the North warned of a "telling blow" against Japan, accusing it of "dancing to the tune of the US" for supporting fresh UN sanctions.

"The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche," Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee (KAPPC) said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, referring to the North's national philosophy of "Juche" or self-reliance.

There have been no reports of objects falling onto Japanese territory and Tokyo has so far "not received reports of any damages to aircraft and vessels which were navigating nearby", Suga said.

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