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N. Korea fires missiles to Japan's EEZ

Posted August. 04, 2016 07:01,   

Updated August. 04, 2016 07:12


North Korea shot two Rodong missiles Wednesday toward the East Sea. One exploded just after engine ignition, and the other flew 1,000 kilometers. The missile landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone 250 kilometers west of the Oga Peninsula in Akita Prefecture. This constitutes the first time a North Korean missile had landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone. An early warning radar base is located at Shariki, which is connected at a straight-line distance from the where the missile landed. North Korea wanted to boast of its long range capability by firing the missile to right in front of the radar base of the U.S. military in Japan.

The Japanese society roared. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promptly called on a national security council meeting, denouncing North Korea's act a riot that cannot be forgiven and ordered Self-Defense Forces to be alerted to mobilization. This resembled the shock of August 1998 when the North's Dapodong 1 missile passed through the Japanese sky flying some 1,600 kilometers. At the defense white book Tuesday, Japan analyzed North Korea's missiles for the first time, saying there is a possibility that the North could possess a missile firing technology with the shooting range that stretches to the Western U.S. and the midwestern city Denver.

With the latest missile firing, North Korea has showed off that it is capable of targeting many of South Korea's areas including harbors and airfields with ballistic nuclear-warhead missiles. The analysis of photos of the three ballistic missiles North Korea fired shows that they were part of an exercise simulating preemptive strikes targeting major harbors and airports where U.S. Air Force bases are located in South Korea. North Korea's goal is to proactively nuclear attack to block U.S. expanded military power dispatch. Abe said Wednesday that Japan will undauntedly respond by allying with the U.S. and South Korea. As such, military collaboration between South Korea and Japan is really necessary against North Korea's possible provocation.

South Korea's military collaboration with Japan is a necessity with the survival itself being threatened. Military cooperation should be upgraded in terms of response strategy levels including preemptive attack and sharing of special war related information. In this regard, it is unfortunate that extreme right persons were appointed as ministers at Japan's cabinet reshuffle Wednesday. If the ministers who had said comfort women were legal and the Nanjing Massacre was false continue those thoughtless remarks, South Korea-Japan relationships will turn sour again. The Abe government should take note that this will harm the future of two countries that need to pursue military cooperation and friendly relations.

허문명논설위원 angelhuh@donga.com