North Korea fires missile after threats to US

TOKYO: North Korea fired a long-range missile off its east coast on Wednesday, as leaders of South Korea and Japan were set to meet on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Lithuania to discuss rising threats including the nuclear-armed North.

The launch came after heated complaints from North Korea in recent days, accusing American spy planes of violating airspace in its economic zones and condemning a recent visit to South Korea by an American nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine.

Japan’s Coast Guard said what was believed to be a ballistic missile appeared to have landed mid-morning. It had earlier predicted the projectile would fall outside Japan’s EEZ and around 550km east of the Korean peninsula.

The missile flew for 74 minutes to an altitude of 6,000km and range of 1,000km, TV Asahi reported, citing a Japanese defence official, in what would be the longest ever flight time for a North Korean missile.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is in Lithuania to attend the NATO summit, ordered his staff to gather information and stay alert to prepare for unpredicted events, according to the prime minister’s office.

Kishida is expected to meet with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday, and Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said a summit was also planned with South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

“We will respond in close cooperation with the international community,” Matsuno told a news conference.

He said the launch threatened the peace and stability both of the region and the international community, and that Japan had lodged a protest through diplomatic channels in Beijing. Reuters.

You May Also Like