Japanese and South Korean authorities said they believe North Korea launched a missile over Japan that landed in the Pacific Ocean.
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North Korea fired a missile early Friday morning over Japan, less than two weeks after its most powerful nuclear test ever, South Korea’s military reported.
The unidentified missile was fired from Sunan, the location of the international airport serving Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, and flew eastward, according to the South Korean military.
It flew over Japan and fell into the Pacific Ocean, about 1,240 miles or 2,000 kilometers off of the Cape of Erimo at the Japanese island of Hokkaido shortly after 7 a.m. local time, the NHK news agency reported, crediting the Japanese government.
Japan’s J-ALERT emergency warning system sent out alert messages on Friday advising residents to take shelter indoors or underground. The alert said that the missile appeared to have flown over the Kanto region, according to NHK.
The missile flew around 3,700 kilometers or 2,300 miles, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, and reached a maximum altitude of roughly 770 kilometers or 478 miles..
The government was advising residents to stay away from anything that could be missile debris, according to NHK.
The Japanese government will hold a national security council meeting on the missile launch Friday morning. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has also scheduled a National Security Council meeting to discuss the launch.
South Korea and the United States are analyzing the reports of the missile launch, BBC reported, crediting the Yonhap news agency.
The development comes one day after North Korea threatened to use weapons to “sink” Japan and turn the United States to “ashes and darkness.”
“The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche,” the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, North Korea’s official propaganda arm, said in a statement. “Japan is no longer needed to exist near us,” the statement read.
Juche, which translates as “self-reliance,” is North Korea’s ruling ideology, a mix of Marxism and hyper-nationalism.
On September 3, North Korea conducted a test of a nuclear device, its sixth and most powerful ever. The government called the test a “perfect success,” and claimed the device was a hydrogen bomb capable of being mounted on a long-range missile.
Friday’s missile test comes days after the United Nations Security Council stepped up sanctions against North Korea. The U.S.-drafted sanctions, approved on Monday, restrict crude oil imports and impose a ban on textile exports. In response, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, Han Tae Song, warned at U.N. conference in Geneva that the United States will “suffer the greatest pain it has ever experienced in its history.”
North Korean state news agency KCNA said in a statement on Thursday that the U.S. should be “beaten to death” over the sanctions and that Japan “should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb.”
The earlier developments prompted a series of counter threats from President Trump.
A North Korean missile launch over Japan in late August traveled 1,700 miles and reached a maximum height of 341 miles as it traveled over the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
Contributing: Kim Hjelmgaard from London, Michael James from McLean, Va., and Jim Michaels from Washington; the Associated Press.
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