North Korea's missile test over Japan is an “unprecedented, serious and grave threat” to the east Asian archipelago, the country's government has said.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, made the comments after a missile soared over the Japanese island of Hokkaido, travelling about 2,700 kilometres before plunging in the sea. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would urge the United Nations to convene an emergency meeting to discuss bolstering its pressure on North Korea.
“We will make utmost efforts to firmly protect the lives of the people,” Reuters quoted Mr Abe as telling reporters. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono similarly called for intensified pressure on North Korea, according to the Associated Press.
Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning said the launch posed no threat to North America. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was “outraged” by the attack, according to Press Association.
The test promised to further exacerbate a geopolitical standoff over North Korea's military ambitions.
The isolated nation has been displaying its advances in missile technology with a series of missile tests over the last month, prompting a war of words with Donald Trump.
After Mr Trump warned that further provocations would incur “fire and fury” from the United States, North Korea responded that it was formulating plans to obliterate the small Pacific island of Guam, an American territory that hosts a military base.
Tension eased somewhat after North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong Un would wait on plans to launch a missile strike, which Mr Trump praised as “very wise and well reasoned”.
But hopes of a significant de-escalation dimmed as North Korea launched multiple short-range missiles over the weekend.
The country has kept up its bellicose rhetoric, casting ongoing joint war games between American and South Korea as an act of aggression.
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