North Korea has launched a missile east towards the Sea of Japan (East Sea), South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in an alert early Friday morning.
The missile flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) east of Hokkaido. Japan issued an emergency alert at 07:06 am that the missile flew over Hokkaido, Tokyo broadcaster NHK said. The broadcaster then reported it splashed down in the Pacific Ocean some 2000 km east of the northern island of Hokkaido.
The missile was launched from Pyongyang’s Sunan International Airport, the same location used for an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) launch on August 29.
United States Pacific Command (PACOM) reported that its initial assessment had determined the launch was of an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM).
Japan’s foreign minister Taro Kono, however, said that “considering the flying distance, it is believed to be an ICBM missile.”
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC), according to Reuters, will meet at 3 pm EST to discuss the launch.
The launch comes after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) agreed on Monday to support new sanctions against the North in retaliation for its sixth nuclear test last week.
North Korea has a track record of responding to punitive measures with military drills, missile launches, or nuclear tests, and the country’s foreign ministry on Wednesday said it would “redouble” its testing schedule in the wake of the new sanctions.
Friday morning’s launch is North Korea’s first since its sixth nuclear test on September 3, and also comes following reports earlier in the week in U.S. media that intelligence officials had spotted movement of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in DPRK territory.
Yesterday, Pyongyang had threatened to sink Japan and reduce the United States to “ashes and darkness” for supporting the Security Council’s latest resolution and sanctions.
South Korea’s JCS announced that it is considering live-testing more Hyunmoo-type missiles on Friday, in response to North Korea’s latest test.