North Korea has fired a missile over Japan, putting further strain on tensions between the isolated dictatorship and its regional neighbours.
The missile flew over Hokkaido island and reached a distance of more than 2,700km, before crashing into the North Pacific Ocean and breaking up into three pieces around 1,180km off Japan’s coast in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The Japanese military did not attempt to intercept the missile mid-flight.
Japanese residents of the island were awoken to an air-raid siren as the missile soared overhead and told to take shelter in “a sturdy building or basement”.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the move an “unprecedented” threat to Japan, and the UN Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting over the issue.
The missile test is believed to be the first time North Korea has launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) over Japan, and shows for the first time that Pyongyang does appear to have a missile that could carry a nuclear warhead.
The missile is suspected to be one of Pyongyang’s newly developer intermediate range Hwasong-12 rockets, which were first revealed to the international community during a military parade on 14 April.
North Korea has fired a missile over Japan in a move Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called an “unprecedented” threat to his country and US President Donald Trump said was an act of “contempt”.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang defended the missile launch as a response to the “hostile” joint US and South Korea military drills currently underway.