Pyongyang: North Korea fires missile from Pyongyang, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports. Japan issued a missile alert to mobile phones and on national television, notifying citizens that a missile may have been launched by North Korea, Bloomberg News reports. North Korea missile flies over Japan, says Tokyo.
The unidentified missile passed over Japan airspace near Hokkaido at 7.06am local time. The missile was fired from North Korea in an eastern direction, according to South Korea military.
The Japanese government said the missile had passed over Hokkaido and the country’s military did not try to shoot it down. They issued a nationwide alert – but particularly told residents in the country’s north to take shelter. The South Korean and US militaries are analysing details of the launch, the South Korea’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
It comes after the latest UN Security resolution imposing further sanctions on the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as punishment for its sixth – and largest – nuclear test earlier this month.
The UN has repeatedly tried to force Pyongyang into ending its nuclear programme, with the latest sanctions aimed at fuel imports and the textile industry that is one of North Korea’s largest exports.
It comes as the US general who oversees America’s nuclear forces said on Thursday he was making the assumption that North Korea did in fact test a hydrogen bomb on 3 September, crossing a key threshold in its weapons development efforts.
Although Pyongyang immediately claimed it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, the United States had previously declined to characterise it.
Air Force General John Hyten, head of the U.S. military’s Strategic Command, however, said he had a responsibility, as a military officer responsible for responding to the test, to assume that it was a hydrogen bomb, based on the size of the blast.
“I’m assuming it was a hydrogen bomb. I have to make that assumption as a military officer,” Hyten told a small group of reporters who were accompanying Defense Secretary Jim Mattie on a trip to Hyten’s headquarters in Nebraska.