TOKYO, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) — The Japanese government on Wednesday strongly condemned the the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) , with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe blasting the move as being a unforgivable act.
Abe described the launch of the SLBM as a grave threat to security and an unforgivable act. "It is a grave threat to Japan's security and an unforgivable act to regional stability and peace," Abe told a press briefing.
The latest launch of a missile by the DPRK is in violation of U. N. Security Council resolutions that ban the DPRK from using ballistic missile technology.
Provisional reports from the defense ministry here said that the SLBM was launched in waters off Sinpo, in the South Hamgyong Province at around 5:30 a.m..
The missile flew around 500 kilometers from its launch point where it fell into the Sea of Japan, within Japan's air defense identification zone, officials said.
The Japanese leader added that a strong protest to the DPRK's latest launch has been made with Pyongyang through certain diplomatic channels.
The DPRK had warned of a possible preemptive nuclear attack if it believed it was being threatened by other countries.
The United States and South Korea began their annual joint military drills on Monday, officials here have noted, which include about 25,000 U.S. troops joining the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise. The drills will conclude on Sept 2.
Wednesday's SLBM launch comes as the foreign ministers of Japan, China and South Korea are currently meeting in Tokyo to discuss a number of issues pertaining to the region, ministry officials here have said.
Abe also said that Japan will continue to work closely with the international community, including the United States and South Korea, to respond firmly to the latest missile launch.