Canada says it’s ‘gravely concerned’ about North Korea ballistic missile test over Japan
“Canada is gravely concerned by the escalating aggressive behaviour demonstrated by North Korea’s leadership,” Freeland said in a statement.
“We condemn in the strongest terms North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan – a deliberate and reckless action intended to provoke and to threaten regional and global security.”
North Korea has fired a ballistic missile across Japan early Friday, creating renewed tension in the region following a nuclear bomb test less than two weeks ago. The latest missile test flew higher and farther than one fired over Japan late last month.
The missile reached an altitude of about 770 kilometres and travelled more than 3,700 kilometres before landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hokkaido, South Korea’s military says.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged China and Russia to take direct action against North Korea, saying that China supplies most of the oil and that “Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labour.”
“China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own,” Tillerson said in a statement.
WATCH: Sirens sound as North Korean missile flies over Japan
On Thursday, Canadian officials continued to evaluate the threat North Korea poses to Canada and its abilities to defend itself in the event of an attack.
Testimony heard at the Standing Committee on National Defence in Ottawa, suggested the U.S. ballistic missile defence would likely not be used to help Canada in the event of a North Korean missile launch.
“We’re being told in Colorado Springs that the extant U.S. policy is not to defend Canada,” said Lt. Gen. Pierre St-Amand, deputy commander of NORAD.
Mark Gwozdecky, an assistant deputy minister with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development said while the threat posed by the Hermit Kingdom is real, “They tell us that they don’t see us as a threat.”
Gwozdecky said there is a “significant” risk that misinterpretation of intent or miscalculation could lead to an unintended escalation of tension, perhaps even military conflict, which would have massive consequences.
“Thousands could die in a matter of minutes should military conflict erupt,” he said.
Friday’s launch came just days after the UN Security Council approved a new round of sanctions against the regime. The UN Security Council is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting in New York at 3 p.m. ET on Friday to discuss North Korea’s latest actions.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the launch “absolutely unacceptable.”
“Now is the time when the international community is required to unite against North Korea’s provocative acts, which threaten world peace,” Abe told reporters.
U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis said North Korea’s latest “reckless act” had “put millions of Japanese in duck and cover.”
Asked about a possible U.S. military response, Mattis said, “I don’t want to talk on that yet,” adding that U.S. President Donald Trump had been briefed on the launch.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said Beijing objected to North Korea’s latest launch but believed diplomacy was the only way to solve the “complicated, sensitive and grim” problem.
“The various directly involved parties should take responsibility,” Hua Chunying told reporters. “Any attempt to wash their hands of the issue is irresponsible.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that Pyongyang’s latest tests have made dialogue between the two countries “impossible.”
“The sanctions and pressure by the international community will only tighten so that North Korea has no choice but to take the path for genuine dialogue” for nuclear disarmament, Moon said. “If North Korea provokes us or our allies, we have the strength to smash the attempt at an early stage and inflict a level of damage it would be impossible to recover from.”
— With files from Leslie Young and The Associated Press
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