North Korea fired an unidentified missile eastwards over Japan on Friday, Seoul and Tokyo said. The launch, from near Pyongyang, came after the United Nations Security Council imposed an eighth set of sanctions on the country over its banned missile and nuclear programmes.
That was in response to its sixth nuclear test -- by far its largest yet -- earlier this month, which Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit onto a missile.
The North has raised tensions in the region with its rapid progress in weapons technology under leader Kim Jong-Un, who is closely associated with the programme and regularly pictured by state media overseeing launches and visiting facilities.
Its last missile launch, a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile just over two weeks ago, also overflew Japan -- its first to do so for years -- sparking emergency sirens and text alerts, before coming down in the Pacific Ocean.
Friday’s missile flew over Hokkaido in northern Japan “at around 07:06 am (2206 GMT) towards the Pacific Ocean”, Japan’s J-Alert system said, with reports saying it came down around 2,000 kilometers east of Hokkaido.
Seoul’s defense ministry said it probably traveled around 3,700 kilometers and reached a maximum altitude of 770 kilometers -- both higher and further than the previous device. It was fired from a similar location near the capital’s airport, it added.
North Korea fired intermediate range ballistic missile
US military’s regional command said on Thursday, adding that the launch did not pose a threat to the United States. “Initial assessment indicates the launch of an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM),” the US Pacific Command said in a statement.
“The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined this ballistic missile did not pose a threat to North America,” it said. “US Pacific Command determined this ballistic missile did not pose a threat to Guam.”