Pyongyang, Sep 15 (IANS) In a major show of defiance to the international community, North Korea fired another ballistic missile over Japan on Friday, creating new tension in the region after its nuclear bomb test less than two weeks ago.
The missile was fired from Sunan district near Pyongyang and reached an altitude of about 770 km, travelling 3,700 km before landing in the sea off Hokkaido, South Korea’s military was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.
It flew higher and further than one fired over Japan late last month, the reports said.
Speaking after the launch, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it was “totally unacceptable” and went against “the international community’s strong, united will for a peaceful solution” to the Korean crisis.
South Korea responded within minutes by firing two ballistic missiles into the sea in a simulated strike on the North.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also condemned the North Korean launch and the UN Security Council will meet at the request of Washington and Tokyo.
China, North Korea’s ideological ally, called the missle test “a violation of UN Security Council resolutions”.
“China objects to the North’s move to launch missiles by using ballistic technology in violation of UNSC resolutions,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
Friday’s missile test followed the release of a statement on Wednesday in which the North Korean state news agency KCNA threatened the “four islands of the (Japanese) archipelago should be sunk into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche”, referring to the ruling ideology of North Korea.
The Japanese government issued a J-Alert and advised “people to stay away from anything that could be missile debris”.
The launch also seemed to be intended to send a message to the US, flying a distance equivalent to that from North Korea to Guam, the US territory that has come under threat from Pyongyang in recent weeks.
North Korea has fired 21 missiles during 14 tests since February, further perfecting its technology with each launch.