Cathay Pacific crew witnessed North Korea missile test
05 December, 2017, 02:15 | Author: Becky Perry
An airplane crew flying over Japan saw North Korea's missile as it plunged back through the atmosphere last week, their airline said Monday, as South Korea and the USA kicked off their largest ever joint air exercise.
Flight 893 was en route from San Francisco to Hong Kong when the crew saw what it believes to be a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile re-enter the Earth's atmosphere, break up, and fall out of the sky.
The South China Morning Post reports that the airline's general manager of operations Mark Hoey posted on the internal company communications platform to warn colleagues of the flight's proximity to the missile.
The BBCreported at least two other Seoul-bound South Korean aircraft traveling from the USA reported witnessing the missile test.
The isolated and impoverished North has staged six increasingly powerful atomic tests since 2006 - most recently in September - which have rattled Washington and its key regional allies South Korea and Japan.
"Though the flight was far from the event location, the crew advised Japan [air traffic control] according to procedures". "We remain alert and (will) review the situation as it evolves".
Cathay Pacific said the ICBM test didn't come close to the aircraft and it now has no plans to alter operations.
He added that a separate Cathay Pacific flight, CX096, "might have been the closest [to the missile test], at a few hundred miles laterally", although there have been no reports from that flight's crew.
But analysts note the missile would require a re-entry vehicle that could withstand the heat and pressure of descent to deliver an intact nuclear warhead to the ground.
After last week's launch, the rogue state boasted that the weapon was capable of hitting the USA mainland.
Regardless of whether or not the test failed on re-entry, the newest missile represents a technological breakthrough for the regime. In response to the test last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on China to do more to rein in North Korea, specifically through restraining the country's oil supply. "It's a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that could threaten everywhere in the world".
According to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), that is a comment that needs to be taken seriously.
Pyongyang sent tensions soaring on the Korean Peninsula five days ago when it announced it had successfully test fired a new ICBM, which it says brings the whole of the continental United States within range.
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