Published:  12:20 PM, 04 October 2022

North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan

North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan


North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday, prompting Tokyo to activate the country's missile alert system and order people to take shelter.

The last time North Korea fired a missile over Japan was in 2017, at the height of a period of "fire and fury" when Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong Un traded insults with then-US president Donald Trump.

South Korea's military said it had detected the launch of an IRBM, which flew around 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) at an altitude of about 970 kilometres and a speed of around Mach 17.

"Specific details are under close analysis by South Korean and US intelligence," the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff added in a statement.

South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol called the launch a "provocation" that violated UN regulations.

Yoon "ordered a stern response and to take corresponding measures in cooperation with the United States and the international community", his office said in a statement.

North Korea was not responding to routine daily contact on the inter-Korean liaison line Tuesday, Seoul's unification ministry said.

Tokyo also confirmed the launch of an IRBM, activating the country's missile alert warning system and urging people to take shelter.

"North Korea appears to have launched a missile. Please evacuate into buildings or underground," the government said in an alert issued at 7:29 am (2229 GMT Monday).

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that the launch was "an act of violence following recent repeated launches of ballistic missiles. We strongly condemn this."

Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said that North Korea "has in the past launched Hwasong 12-type missiles four times, so this could be the same type".

If so, the flight distance, which Tokyo estimated at 4,600 kilometres, was thought to be a new record for that particular type of missile.

The last two times North Korea fired Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan, in September and August 2017, they travelled 3,700 kilometres and 2,700 kilometres respectively, Chad O'Carroll of Seoul-based specialist site NK News wrote on Twitter.

"This is the 8th test of the Hwasong-12 and the 3rd time it has overflown Japan," Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies wrote on Twitter.

Washington condemned the launch, with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaking to his counterparts in Seoul and Tokyo to discuss an "appropriate and robust" joint response.

"Sullivan reinforced the United States' ironclad commitments to the defense of Japan and the ROK (South Korea)," national security spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.




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