Pentagon confirms North Korea fired missile that ‘flew over Japan’

CNN Wire

North Korea has launched a missile that flew over Japan, the Pentagon confirmed Monday.

“The missile launched by North Korea flew over Japan,” Pentagon spokesman US Army Col. Rob Manning said. “We are still in the process of assessing this launch.”

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs issued a statement that North Korea “fired an unidentified projectile” from an area near Sunan, Pyongyang, toward the sea east of the Korean Peninsula, that “flew over Japan.”

Japan’s Chief Cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missile passed over the Erimo Cape of Hokkaido, and it is estimated have fallen in the Pacific Ocean, about 1,180km east of the Erimo Cape.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke to reporters early Tuesday, after reports emerged of North Korea’s launch, saying: “We’ll immediately gather information and analyze it, and take all possible measures to ensure people’s safety.”

The comments were broadcast by Japan’s NHK public broadcaster.

In 1998, North Korea was criticized for overflying Japan with its test of a satellite launch vehicle, but the rogue nation has not overflown Japan with any missiles since with the exception of a failed 2009 launch that landed in the Pacific.

The launch occurred at 5:57am local time.

Manning said that NORAD determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.

“We are working closely with Pacific Command, Strategic Command and NORAD and we will provide an update as soon as possible,” Manning said.

A US official said US spy satellites had been observing preparations for a ballistic missile test that would most likely be an intermediate range missile that could reach Guam. The official says the assessment is ongoing.

This launch comes only days after Pyongyang fired three short-range ballistic missiles from the Kangwon province on Saturday.