aljazeera.com – North Korea has fired a ballistic missile from the capital Pyongyang that has flown over northern Japan, drawing strong reactions from its neighbours and the US.
Yoshihide Sug, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said the projectile was launched at 6:57am local time on Friday (21:57 GMT Thursday) and flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido before falling into the Pacific Ocean – 2,000km east of Cape Erimo.
It splashed down at 7:16am local time (22:16 GMT).
“Japan protests the latest launch in the strongest terms and will take appropriate and timely action at the United Nations and elsewhere, staying in close contact with the United States and South Korea,” Suga said.
The country can “never tolerate this repeated extreme provocative action”.
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South Korea’s defence ministry said the missile travelled about 3,700km and reached a maximum altitude of 770km – both higher and further than previous tests.
The ministry said the South’s military conducted a live-fire ballistic missile drill in response to the North’s launch.
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The US military said it detected a single intermediate-range ballistic missile.
It did not pose a threat to North America or the US Pacific territory of Guam, Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for US Pacific Command, said in a statement, citing an initial assessment.
The South Korean and US militaries are analysing details of the launch, the South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House called an urgent National Security Council meeting.
North Korea’s launch came a day after it threatened to sink Japan and reduce the US to “ashes and darkness” for supporting a UN Security Council resolution imposing new sanctions against it for its September 3 nuclear test.