South Korean President Moon Jae-in, only days into his presidency has for the first time, in what will most likely become a repeated act called together his National Security Council to strongly condemned an act by North Korea. This first condemnation was in response to North Korea's ballistic missile launch early Saturday morning.
President Moon during an emergency meeting of his National Security Council described the launch as a grave threat to regional security and a clear violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. The South Korean military issued a statement shortly after Saturday's 5:27 a.m. KST. Confirming that North Korea had launched a Pukkuksong-2 / Pukguksong-2 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) also known as a KN-15 from the North Pyongan Province, which is approximately 65 miles North of Pyongyang. The missile was launched from the Western Region of North Korea, took an Eastern trajectory staying within North Korean airspace at an altitude of more than 2,000 km, flew an estimated 430 - 450 miles in 30 minutes before landing in the Sea of Japan: making today's launch a success.
According to reports, US Pacific Command based in Hawaii immediately detected North Korea's launch, tracked the missile's trajectory, and the missile's landing in the Sea of Japan. USPACOM issued a statement reiterating continued support to both the ROK and Japan and that is fully committed to working closely with both our South Korean and Japanese allies to maintain stability and security in the region.
President Moon speaking before South Korea's National Security Council stated; that if North Korea wishes for there to be a future potential for dialogue between the two countries they need to know now that potential will only be possible once the North changes its attitude and ceases its current course of aggression. He also went on to warn North Korea that his administration would deal resolutely with all provocations to ensure there would be NO "Miscalculation" of the situation and has ordered his troops to bolster deterrence against the North's military threats on the basis of South Korea's robust alliance with the United States.
In particular, President Moon instructed the ROK Military to speed up the establishment of South Korea's own Korea Air and Missile Defense System (KAMD). However, given the program's challenges, 2020 is the earliest the ROK's missile defense system will be ready for deployment to supplement the existing THAAD System.
Even as North Korea remains defiant in its actions after today's launch, it is apparent how other Nations are tiring of North Korea's continued unchecked rebellious behavior by statements issued throughout the day.
The White House statement condemned North Korea's launch and once again called for tougher sanctions against North Korea.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also voiced his criticism of North Korea for once again violating the UN Security Council. He also ordered the JCS military to maintain a full defense posture and to continue closely monitoring the North Korean for future military moves.
Meanwhile, China, which has been under growing pressure from Washington to help rein in North Korea, repeated what is quickly becoming their go to, repetitive and tiresome statement. That all countries affected and involved should exercise restraint and refrain from further aggravating of the tensions in the region. The problem with China's statement is it does not seem directed at North Korea, but all the countries North Korean missile launches affect.