|A North Korean missile is launched during a long and medium-range ballistic rocket launch drill, in this photo released August 30, 2017. The test of the Hwasong-12 missile took it over northern Japan's Hokkaido island and into the sea. PHOTO: KCNA/via Reuters|
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.
Warning announcements about the missile blared around 7 a.m. (2200 GMT Thursday) in the town of Kamaishi in northern Japan, footage from national broadcaster NHK showed.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the launch “put millions of Japanese into duck and cover”, although residents in northern Japan appeared calm and went about their business as normal.
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 U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
The U.S. 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 U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, towards which Pyongyang had previously threatened to launch a missile.
U.s. officials said Washington’s commitments to the defence of its allies remained “ironclad”. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for “new measures” against North Korea and that “these continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation”.
The United Nations Security Council was to meet at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) on Friday at the request of the United States and Japan, diplomats said, just days after the 15-member council unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea over its Sept. 3 nuclear test. Those sanctions imposed a ban on the country’s textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.
“The international community needs to come together and send a clear message to North Korea that it is threatening world peace with its actions,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters in Tokyo. Abe described the launch as “unacceptable”.