A North Korean ballistic missile launched Wednesday landed near Japanese-controlled waters for the first time.
The main body of the projectile landed in Japan’s economic exclusion zone, Reuters reports, citing a Japanese defense official.
The launch came amid increased tensions on the divided peninsula after a series of missile launches this year by Pyongyang and a decision by the United States to place a sophisticated anti-missile system in South Korea.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described the launch as a “grave threat” to Japan and said Tokyo “strongly protested”.
Japan also said its self-defence force will remain on alert in case of further launches.
A US State Department spokesman condemned the launch, saying it will “only increase the international community’s resolve to counter” North Korea’s actions.
The US Strategic Command said it had detected two missiles, one of which it said exploded immediately after launch.
The missile that landed in the Sea of Japan was launched at about 7:50 a.m. Seoul time from a region in South Hwanghae province to the southwest of North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
The launch showed North Korea’s ambition to “directly and broadly attack neighboring countries and target several places in the South Korea such as ports and airfields”, the South Korean official said.
The missile appeared to be a Rodong-type medium-range missile and flew about 1,000 kilometers.
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