fired a missile that flew over Japan’s northern Hokkaido
far out into the Pacific Ocean on Friday, South Korean and Japanese officials
said, deepening tension after Pyongyang’s recent test of its most powerful nuclear bomb.
The missile flew over Japan
and landed in the Pacific about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) east of Hokkaido, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
The missile reached an altitude of about 770 km (480 miles) and flew for about 19 minutes over a distance of about 3,700 km (2,300 miles), according to South Korea’s military —far enough to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam.
On August 29, North Korea
launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Hwasong-12, which travelled 2,700 km (1,700 miles), also over Japan.
“The range of this test was significant since North Korea
demonstrated that it could reach Guam with this missile,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a statement. However, it said the accuracy of the missile, still at an early stage of development, was low, so it would be difficult to destroy the US Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.
Warning announcements about the missile blared around 10:00 pm GMT Thursday in parts of northern Japan, while many residents received alerts on their mobile phones or saw warnings on TV telling them to seek refuge.
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the launch “put millions of Japanese into duck and cover”, although residents of northern Japan
appeared calm and went about their business as normal after the second such launch in less than a month.
The US military said soon after the launch it had detected a single intermediate range ballistic missile but the missile did not pose a threat to North America or the US Pacific territory of Guam.