Global concern, as North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan

15 September 2017
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The missile – which was fired from Sunan, just north of Pyongyang, on Friday morning at 6.57am Japanese local time (21.57 GMT Thursday) – flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido before landing, 20 minutes after launch, in the Pacific Ocean, 2,200km east of Cape Erimo.

The US and South Korea said they believed it to be an intermediate-range ballistic missile, although the Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono said it could be an intercontinental ballistic missile, which has a significantly greater range and which Pyongyang claimed to have tested successfully in July.

Friday’s launch was the longest-ever such flight carried out by the rogue regime, and travelled 3,700km – 800km further than the previous launch over Japan, in August.

The US Pacific territory of Guam, which Kim Jong-un has threatened to attack, is 3,400km from North Korea. But the US military said the direction of the missile meant the island was not at risk.

Experts said it was likely to be another Hwasong-12 missile, as used in the August test.

People living in regions near the missile flight path in Hokkaido received two text alerts on Friday morning, the first warning them to seek shelter, and the second giving an all-clear.

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