North Korea fires missile over Japan
North Korea has fired a missile over Japan in a move Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called an “unprecedented” threat to his country and US President Donald Trump said was an act of “contempt”.
The missile, launched early yesterday Korean time, flew over Hokkaido Island before crashing into the sea.
The UN Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting later in response. North Korea has conducted a flurry of missile tests recently amid growing international unease.
This is the first time it has fired what is thought to be a ballistic weapon over Japan. On the two previous occasions its rockets crossed Japan - in 1998 and 2009 - North Korea said they were for satellite launch vehicles, and therefore not weapons.
The BBC’S Rupert WingfieldHayes in Tokyo says this latest launch appears to be the first of a missile powerful enough to potentially carry a nuclear warhead. The South Korean military said the missile was fired eastward from near the North’s capital, Pyongyang - which is rare.
No effort was made by Japan to shoot down the missile but it issued a safety warning telling citizens in Hokkaido to take shelter in “a sturdy building or basement”.
US and Japanese forces have just finished a joint drill in Hokkaido while another annual exercise involving tens of thousands of South Korean and US military personnel is still under way in South Korea.