What we know so far about the North Korean missile test over Japan

By: CSIS Korea Chair

August 29, 2017

On August 29, North Korea test-launched a missile that flew over Japan. This is the first test of a developmental North Korean missile over Japanese territory since 1998. In 2009, 2012, and 2016, North Korea also attempted satellite launches using ballistic missile technology that resulted in missile pieces crossing Japanese territory.

  • CSIS Beyond Parallel data had suggested that North Korea would carry out provocations during the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise period (August 21 — August 31) even though UFG is a tabletop exercise.
  • The intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) test appears to have flown a northern trajectory over Hokkaido, suggesting this was not an effort to make good on the DPRK threat to target Guam; however, experts assess that the type of missile tested was likely a Hwasong-12 the type indicated in North Korea’s statement on August 10th. Additional data on the missile launch has not yet been made publicly available.
  • The intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) test coming shortly after consultations by the new PRC envoy for Six Party talks and in the context of Chinese support of UNSCR 2371 suggests that Pyongyang is not constrained by the current level of Chinese diplomatic pressure and economic sanctioning.
  • U.S. policymakers likely presumed North Korean provocations during the UFG exercise period, so it is not clear whether the latest test changed substantively any policy calculations, which are focused on increasing sanctions pressure on the regime.

Photo Credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI / Contributor

Originally published at www.csis.org.