New WW3 fears have been sparked as the latest North Korean missile test has reportedly forced the grounding of US planes.
Both Sacramento International Airport and San Francisco International Airport in the US state of California, confirmed that they had briefly grounded flights on Monday for about five minutes.
North Korea appeared to have engaged in their second ballistic missile test in less than a week – enraging their neighbours, South Korea and Japan.
The hermit state also claimed to have tested a hypersonic missile on Wednesday last week, following up on Kim Jong-un’s vow to strengthen the military after talks with South Korea and the US had stalled.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the latest suspected missile launch was detected around 7:27am (UK time) from an inland area of North Korea.
An emergency meeting was held by South Korea’s National Security Council (NSC), where “strong regret” was expressed about the missile test, The Sun reports.
A statement from the Blue House (the South Korean President’s official residence) said: “Members of the NSC urged North Korea to swiftly respond to the international community’s expectations for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and agree to resume dialogue and cooperation.”
The South Korean military is cooperating with the US and closely monitoring the situation in preparation for future launches.
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According to Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha University in Seoul, North Korea is attempting to use repeated tests to normalise its missile capabilities.
Easley said the country is trying to portray itself as being engaged in improvements for self-defence.
He added: “At the same time, Pyongyang is challenging international sanctions, testing what it can get away with while the United Nations Security Council remains divided.”
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After last week’s missile launch, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called the incident “regrettable” while speaking to reporters.
The most recent launch came just a day after the UN issued a joint statement condemning the previous test.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement on Monday: “These actions increase the risk of miscalculation and escalation and pose a significant threat to regional stability.”
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