The growing tension in the region increased even further on Friday with North Korea launching a more powerful missile over Japan. According to a statement by South Korean Military, the missile plunged into Pacific Ocean after flying for over 16 minutes. The version and capacity of the missile has still not been identified, however, it was launched around 6.30 a.m. (local time) from east of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, according to South Korea’s military Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The officials said that the rocket could have reached an altitude of 770 km and flew for a total of some 3,700 km. According to the Japanese government’s missile alert system, the missile overflew the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and fell into the Pacific Ocean, Efe news reported.
Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the missile fell into the ocean some 2,000 km from the town of Erimo in eastern Hokkaido without being seen to do so by any ships or aircraft in that area.
Suga also said that no damage had been reported as a result of the missile. Specifically he said that no potentially dangerous debris had fallen from the missile, confirming that no aircraft or ships in the region have been hit or damaged as a result of the launch and missile’s flight.
The South Korean President’s Office immediately called a meeting of that country’s National Security Council and troops of the Asian nation undertook a ballistic missile test in the Sea of Japan to the east of the Korean Peninsula in response to the launch.
This is the first missile launch by North Korea since the end of August, when the Kim Jong-un regime fired another projectile over northern Japan, and the first weapons test since Pyongyang carried out its sixth, and to date most powerful, nuclear test on September 3.