Washington, Aug 28 (EFE).- The Pentagon confirmed Monday that the intercontinental ballistic missile launched by North Korea earlier in the day – albeit early Tuesday morning in that region – overflew Japan but did not pose a threat to the US or its forces deployed abroad.
“The missile launched by North Korea flew over Japan,” a Pentagon spokesman – US Army Col. Rob Manning – said. “We are still in the process of assessing this launch.”
“We are working closely with Pacific Command, Strategic Command and NORAD and we will provide an update as soon as possible,” Manning said.
The ballistic missile flew over Japanese territory and fell into the Pacific Ocean to the east of the northern island of Hokkaido, the Japanese government said.
This is the first time since 1998 that North Korea has overflown Japan with a missile, except for a failed 2009 launch that landed in the Pacific.
The missile launched on Tuesday plunged into the sea about 1,180 kilometers (730 miles) from Cape Erimo, in the extreme northeastern portion of the Japanese archipelago at 5:57 am on Tuesday, local time, according to government spokesman Yoshihide Suga.
“It is an unprecedented, serious and grave threat to our nation,” Suga said at a news conference, adding that the missile launch was also a clear violation of UN resolutions and saying that Tokyo had protested the matter in the strongest terms.
The South Korean army, according to the local Yonhap news agency, said that the missile was launched from Sunan, near Pyongyang.
The latest missile launch by the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un comes after on Saturday Pyongyang launched three short-distance ballistic missiles into the waters of the Sea of Japan.
The missile flew for 2,700 km and reached a maximum altitude of about 550 km, South Korean military officials told Yonhap.
Tokyo, Washington and Seoul are all analyzing the situation at present, the Japanese spokesman said, and the South Korean government has called an emergency meeting of its National Security Council.
Last month, the North Korean regime tested two ICBMs, and the first of those test flights resulted in the UN Security Council voting to impose new sanctions on Pyongyang.
Kim earlier in August threatened to fire missiles near the US Pacific island territory of Guam and President Donald Trump warned – in very controversial remarks – that Pyongyang would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the US.