North Korea has followed through with threats to continue firing its missiles close to US allies after sanctions imposed by Washington on Pyongyang linked to its intercontinental ballistic missile programme. The Hwasong-12 is similar to the missile that Pyongyang recently threatened to launch towards Guam.
In Japan, their J-Alert system warned people across the north to head to shelter but no other action was taken by Tokyo as it monitored the trajectory of the missile. According to Japan, the missile was launched from a site close to Pyongyang and passed over Hokkaido early on Monday morning, around 6am local time. It then broke up around 2,700km, according to South Korean officials, and reached a height of 560km.
Japan has reacted furiously to the firing. "This reckless act of launching a missile that flies over our country is an unprecedented, serious and important threat,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow is concerned. "We see a tendency towards an escalation ... and we are extremely concerned by the general developments," he told RIA Novosti state news agency, but also said US/Korean military drills have increased tension or in his words “had played their role in provoking Pyongyang into this new firing".
The launch is believed to be in response to US and South Korean troops conducting military drills on the Korean Peninsula, which has already led North Korea to say it's going to take complaints about the exercises to the UN Security Council.
Earlier in August, Pyongyang said it would fire up to four Hwasong-12 missiles into the sea around the US island of Guam. North Korea has conducted numerous tests in recent months.
The war of words between Pyongyang and Washington has been led on the American side largely by President Donald Trump. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said while talking to journalists at his New Jersey golf club.
“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.. (they) will be met with the fire and fury and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before if it continued with this behaviour.”