Japan vowed on Wednesday to shoot down any missiles or rockets fired over its territory after North Korea announced plans to launch a satellite in the coming days.
“Today the defence minister issued an order” to destroy any projectiles if “confirmed that it will fall on Japanese territory”, the defence ministry said in a statement.
North Korea on Tuesday informed international organisations of its plans to launch an Earth observation satellite on a rocket between February 8-25. Last month, North Korea announced it tested a hydrogen bomb – the reclusive country’s fourth nuclear test.
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, called the possible launch a “serious provocation”, adding that he would work with the US and South Korea to demand that Pyongyang abandon the planned launch.
“If North Korea goes ahead and launches the rocket, it would clearly violate UN security council resolutions and pose a serious provocation,” Abe said in parliament. “The reality is that it is a launch of a ballistic missile.”
the presidential Blue House in Seoul said in a statement.
“We strongly warn that the North will pay a severe price … if it goes ahead with the long-range missile launch plan.”
In Washington, US state department spokesman John Kirby said the UN security council needed to “send the North Koreans a swift, firm message”.