North Korea launched a missile that flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido at 5:58 a.m. local time on Tuesday, according to Japanese government officials.
Japan’s NHK News reported that the missile passed over Japan, with people in the country’s north warned to take precautions.
Japanese officials said the missile “blew apart” into three pieces before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.
South Korean military officials confirmed reports of the missile launch and said that the missile flew for 1,677 miles at a maximum altitude of 341 miles. North American Aerospace Defense Command, North America’s foremost missile-warning system, determined that the missile did not pose a threat to North America.
During the tense moment, multiple prefectures in Japan were reportedly put on alert.
“We’ll take utmost efforts to protect the public,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said shortly following the launch.
A subsequent report in The Japan Times said Abe called the launch “an unprecedented, grave, and serious threat” that damaged the security of the region.
Abe discussed the incident with President Donald Trump in a phone call Monday, according to Reuters. The two agreed to increase pressure on North Korea following the missile launch. During the 40-minute call, Trump also reiterated that the US was “100% with Japan” and was supportive of Japan’s defense efforts, Abe told reporters.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered a military show of “overwhelming” force in response to the North’s actions, Yonhap News reported. Four South Korean F-15K fighter jets were dispatched to drop eight bombs at a simulated target.
The latest launch was conducted days after North Korea fired what was believed to be three short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and a month after an intercontinental ballistic missile flight test, the Associated Press reported.
- Kim Hong-Ji-Pool/ Getty Images
Following a Washington Post report describing North Korea’s surprising advancement in its nuclear-missile program, Trump said North Korea’s threats would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
US-North Korea rhetoric grew hotter once North Korea threatened to strike the US territory of Guam, with Trump doubling down on his initial statement by saying it “wasn’t tough enough.”
During a campaign-style rally in Arizona last week, Trump said North Korea was “starting to respect us.”
“I respect that fact very much. Respect that fact,” Trump said at the time. “And maybe, probably not, but maybe something positive can come about.”
Here’s an initial illustration of the missile’s trajectory:
— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) August 28, 2017