As with the last test on 29 August, the missile flew over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. There were no immediate reports of damage to aircraft or ships.
Sirens sounded across the region and text message alerts were sent out warning people to take cover.
According to observers, it is likely to have been an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) though Japanese officials believe there is still a possibility it was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
What is so alarming about the new launch is that the US Pacific territory of Guam, which North Korea says it has plans to fire missiles towards, is 3,400km from Pyongyang, putting it within range of the latest missile.
Sanctions on North Korea were tightened this week in response to its sixth nuclear test on 3 September, which reportedly involved a miniaturized hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on to a long-range missile.
After the latest round of sanctions, it is not clear what other course of action is open to the UN Security Council.
Only on September 11, the UN Security Council voted to restrict oil imports and ban textile exports, in an attempt to starve North Korea of fuel and income for its weapons programs.
According to South Korean and US military officials, North Korea has test-fired another ballistic missile.
The missile exploded shortly after take-off, they said – the second failed launch in the past fortnight.
President Donald Trump accused North Korea of showing “disrespect” towards China and its president.
The missile was fired in the early hours on April 29 from a site in South Pyeongan province, north of Pyongyang, South Korea said.
President Trump wrote on Twitter: “North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!”
He recently hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping and praised his Chinese counterpart for “trying very hard” on North Korea.
The failed launch came just hours after the United Nations Security Council discussed North Korea’s missile programme.
Donald Trump‘s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for a tougher international approach to the isolated communist state – but also signaled that the US might be prepared to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Tensions in the region have increased lately, with both North and South Korea conducting military exercises.
North Korea is believed to be continuing efforts to miniaturize nuclear warheads and fit them on long-range missiles capable of reaching the US.
After April 29 failed launch, the Japanese government condemned the test and said it had lodged a strong protest with North Korea through its diplomatic channels.
“North Korea fired an unidentified missile from a site in the vicinity of Bukchang in Pyeongannam-do (South Pyeongan Province) early this morning,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) said in a statement, Yonhap reports.
The statement added that the missile apparently exploded, just seconds after the launch.
Meanwhile, Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for US Pacific Command, also said the launch occurred near the Bukchang airfield.
Dave Benham added that the missile did not leave North Korean territory.
US officials told Reuters that they believed the missile was a medium-range type known as KN-17.
The launch comes on the eve of a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping to the US to meet President Donald Trump.
The two will discuss how to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea is banned from any missile or nuclear tests by the UN, though has repeatedly broken those sanctions.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described the launch as “yet another” intermediate range ballistic missile, adding: “The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”
The US military’s Pacific Command said it appeared to have been a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile.
“The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America,” it said.
Japan called the launch “provocative”, while South Korea condemned it as “a blunt challenge” to the UN and “a threat to the peace and safety of the international community as well as the Korean peninsula”.
Last month, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan from the Tongchang-ri region, near the border with China.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called it a “new stage of threat”.
Last week, the US Treasury slapped sanctions on 11 North Korean business representatives and one company.
On April 4, US politicians overwhelmingly backed a bill relisting North Korea as a state sponsor of terror.
North Korea responded by warning that it will retaliate if the international community steps up sanctions, saying the US was forcing the situation “to the brink of war”.
According to a South Korean military official, the launch had taken place at 07:36 local time on March 6 and was being investigated to determine the type of projectile used.
The US military said later it had detected and tracked a launch but had determined that it did not pose a threat to North America.
State Department acting spokesperson Mark Toner said in a statement: “The United States strongly condemns the DPRK’s ballistic missile launches tonight, which violate UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea’s launches using ballistic missile technology.”
On March 3, Pyongyang threatened to fire missiles in response to the Foal Eagle military exercises under way between South Korea and the US. North Korea sees the annual drills as preparation for an invasion against it.
Today’s launches were just the latest in a long series of tests of North Korean missile technology, which experts say is likely to be improving with successive tests.
North Korea has repeatedly said its space program is peaceful but it is believed to be developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could strike the US.
However, most believe North Korea is still some time away from being able to miniaturize nuclear warheads so they could fit on to a missile.
North Korea has conducted a ballistic test in for the first time since President Donald Trump took office.
President Trump assured Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe that “America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100%”.
The ballistic missile fired by North Korea flew east towards the Sea of Japan for about 310 miles, South Korean officials say.
PM Shinzo Abe said the test was “absolutely intolerable”. According to Japanese officials, the missile did not reach its waters.
Speaking at a joint press conference during a visit to the US, Shinzo Abe added that Donald Trump had also assured him that he was committed to “further enforcing our alliance”.
North Korea has conducted a number of nuclear tests in the past year in acts of aggression that continue to alarm and anger the region.
Image source Reuters
February 12 launch took place at 07:55 local time from the Banghyon air base in North Pyongan province on the west side of the Korean peninsula.
The missile reached an altitude of about 350 miles, according to a South Korean official quoted by Reuters, and appeared to be a Rodong medium-range missile.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said: “North Korea’s repeated provocations show the Kim Jong-un regime’s nature of irrationality, maniacally obsessed in its nuclear and missile development.”
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga confirmed the missile had not reached Japanese territorial waters, adding that Tokyo would make a “strong protest” to North Korea over the incident.
There has so far been no comment from North Korea.
Kim Jong-un said last month that North Korea was close to testing long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
On a visit to South Korea last week, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with an “effective and overwhelming” response.
James Mattis also reconfirmed plans to deploy a US missile defense system in South Korea later this year.
North Korea conducted its fifth test of a nuclear device in 2016, and claims it is capable of carrying out a nuclear attack on the US, though experts are still unconvinced that its technology has progressed that far.
North Korea has also said in recent weeks that it has a new intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of reaching the US mainland, which it is prepared to test launch at any time.
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