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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

North Korea launches missile over Japan, South Korea says

The South Korean and Japanese governments said North Korea fired an unidentified missile eastward early on Friday

North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Wednesday, South Korean military officials said. AP
North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Wednesday, South Korean military officials said. AP

North Korea has fired its second missile over Japan in as many months, a fresh provocation that comes shortly after the UN approved harsher sanctions against Kim Jong Un’s regime.

The missile was launched at 6:57 a.m local time on Friday morning, and is likely to have reached an altitude of about 770 km and travelled some 3,700 km, South Korea's military said.

South Korea and the US are analysing the details of the launch, it added.

Japan did not attempt to shoot down the unidentified missile, which flew over the northern island of Hokkaido before landing 2,000km away in the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s government spokesman, told reporters that the situation was similar to that when a missile was fired over Japan on August 29, NHK reported. North Korea had called that test a “meaningful prelude” to a threatened launch into waters near the American territory of Guam.

The UN Security Council will meet on Friday to discuss the latest missile test, diplomats said, at the request of the US and Japan.

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North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, and has launched more than a dozen missiles this year as Kim seeks the capability to hit the continental US with an atomic weapon. US President Donald Trump has said all options - including military - are on the table to stop North Korea from threatening the US.

In July, North Korea fired two ICBMs on steep trajectories into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan. The regime said those launches put the entire US in its range.

On Monday, the UN Security Council approved new sanctions after the US dropped key demands such as an oil embargo to win support from Russia and China, both of which can veto any proposals. The resolution seeks to limit oil imports, ban textile exports and increase inspections of ships suspected of carrying cargo in breach of sanctions.

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North Korea’s first nuclear test since Trump took office was a “perfect success” and confirmed the precision and technology of the bomb, according to the Korean Central News Agency. Kim claimed that his regime could mount a hydrogen bomb onto an ICBM.

While North Korea’s ICBM threat is growing, the US military says it is not yet imminent. Kim’s regime has yet to demonstrate that it can accurately guide a long-range missile to a target with a nuclear warhead that survives the trip, General Paul Selva, the No. 2 US military official said in a statement to Bloomberg last month.

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