North Korea says its missile launches Monday were practice tests for strikes on US bases in Japan, which could potentially "wipe out" 54,000 US troops, per CNN and AFP. A Tuesday report from North Korea's state news agency KCNA said the four missiles—three of which fell within Japan's exclusive economic zone—were part of a force "tasked to strike the bases of the US imperialist aggressor forces in Japan in contingency." US officials are likely to cite the report as evidence to support the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system being deployed in South Korea, which is capable of intercepting and destroying short and medium range ballistic missiles, but has drawn criticism from China and Russia in addition to North Korea.
After a phone call with President Trump on Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the pair agreed the launches were "a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions." The council has called an emergency meeting for Wednesday. In a tweet Monday, Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the UN, called North Korea a "menace" to international security, adding "the world won't allow North Korea to continue on its destructive path." According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the launches of what US officials identified as extended range SCUD missiles able to fly more than 600 miles. Photos accompanying the report showed the leader looking gleeful while "feasting his eyes on the trails of ballistic rockets." (Read more North Korea stories.)