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Japan urges world to unite on N. Korea after latest missile

The international community must come together to stop the
threat from North Korea, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday after
the country again launched a ballistic missile over northern Japan
and into the Pacific Ocean.

The missile followed a similar course to one North Korea fired
over Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido on Aug. 29. But it
traveled about 3,700 kilometers, the furthest of any North Korean
missile so far, the Japanese government said.

The missile would have reached the U.S. Pacific territory of
Guam if fired in that direction, which North Korea threatened in July
it might do.

"Now is the time when the international community is required to
unite against North Korea's provocative acts, which threaten world
peace," Abe told reporters after arriving back in Tokyo from a trip
to India.

"We must make North Korea understand that if it continues down
this road, it will not have a bright future," he said.

As requested by Japan, the United States and South Korea, the
U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency session later in the
day, said Ethiopia, president of the 15-member council for the month
of September.

Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae In also agreed in
telephone talks Friday that they will work together to increase
pressure on North Korea, a Japanese official said.

Friday's launch follows the Security Council's adoption this
week of a new sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the Sept.
3 test of what Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb that can be mounted
on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Abe is set to call for the international community to unite in
putting pressure on North Korea when he addresses the U.N. General
Assembly in New York next week.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said he agreed with U.S.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to start making arrangements to hold
trilateral talks, including with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang
Kyung Wha, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

Kono told reporters after their telephone talks that he
confirmed with Tillerson that Japan, the United States and South
Korea will work closely for U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang to be
"completely" implemented by all nations.
The latest missile launch is a "strong challenge to the
international community," Kono said. "We will put maximum pressure on
North Korea and we want (the country) to come to the table for talks
after showing a clear commitment to denuclearization."

Later Kono also spoke by phone with Kang and Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Kono said he and Lavrov agreed to meet in New York as soon as
Monday.

Kono and Lavrov have been at odds over whether to bolster
pressure on Pyongyang, as President Vladimir Putin has argued that
further sanctions would aggravate the situation and that political
and diplomatic means are needed to defuse the situation.

There are signs in Japan as well that some policymakers have
become skeptical about the effects of sanctions on Pyongyang.

Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso suggested the response by the
international community to North Korea so far -- applying
progressively stricter U.N. sanctions -- may not succeed in
compelling Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapon and ballistic
missile development programs.

"In a situation in which (North Korea) has been completely
ignoring the repeated sanctions resolutions, perhaps the way we've
been doing things until now hasn't had enough of an effect," Aso, who
doubles as finance minister, said after a Cabinet meeting.

Earlier Friday, the Japanese government's top spokesman said
Tokyo had lodged a protest with North Korea over the launch, which
set off evacuation alerts over a wide area of northern Japan.

The government's J-Alert emergency warning system went off in
Hokkaido and 11 other prefectures, the same areas as for the Aug. 29
launch, warning residents to take shelter inside sturdy buildings or
underground.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference
the missile was launched at around 6:57 a.m. Japan time from a
western coastal area of North Korea, before passing over Hokkaido
around 7:06 a.m.

Having reached a maximum altitude of 800 km, it plunged into the
Pacific Ocean about 2,200 km east of Cape Erimo at around 7:16 a.m.,
Suga said.

Suga said the missile did not appear to have been launched on
the steep "lofted" trajectories of ballistic missiles that landed in
the Sea of Japan.

He defended Japan's decision not to try to shoot down the
missile, saying the Self-Defense Forces had been monitoring it since
the launch and judged it would not land on Japanese territory.

And Suga said the government had not received any reports of
damage from aircraft or ships around Japan.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the missile could have
been an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 type.

As in previous launches, parts of Japan's railway system in the
affected areas temporarily ground to a halt. (Sept. 15)


A display on a Sapporo street reports a North Korean ballistic missile flew over the northern Japan island of Hokkaido into the Pacific Ocean on Sept. 15, 2017, comparing the latest missile path (above) with the Aug. 29 launch (below). (Kyodo)