North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan Tuesday morning. The missile flew about two-thousand-700 kilometers before landing in the sea. It marks the first time North Korea has launched a ballistic missile through Japanese airspace.
The North has confirmed the projectile as a Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM). The UN Security Council has also unanimously adopted a chairman’s statement condemning the launch.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the missile was fired from a location near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang at around 5:57 a.m. Tuesday.
The projectile landed in the sea off the east coast of Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido.
The JCS said the missile reached an altitude of about 550 kilometers.
It marks the first time that North Korea has launched a ballistic missile through Japanese airspace. In 1998 and 2009, the North launched what it called space rockets over Japan.
The latest launch came just three days after Pyongyang fired short-range projectiles toward the East Sea.
Seoul's presidential office convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council’s standing committee at 7 a.m. Tuesday chaired by National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong.
The government also issued a statement warning stern measures if North Korea continues its provocations. It urged the regime to move onto the path of dialogue.
Following the missile launch, President Moon Jae-in also ordered the military to demonstrate its capabilities of retaliation.
With Moon’s order, four Air Force fighters conducted a bombing exercise at a shooting range in Taebaek, Gangwon Province.
Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Chung held a phone conference with his U.S. counterpart Herbert McMaster to discuss how the two allies will respond to Pyongyang.
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha also spoke with U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson, while JCS chief Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo spoke with his counterpart Gen. Joseph Dunford.
The latest missile traveled the farthest of all the missiles fired under the Kim Jong-un regime. It was also launched at a standard angle, which is believed to demonstrate the North’s ability to act on its threat to attack Guam.
The provocation is also viewed as a clear protest to the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian joint military exercise between South Korea and the U.S.
President Trump took to Twitter and wrote that the “U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!" However, he stressed that “all options are on the table.”
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis emphasized that the allies will “never be out of diplomatic solutions.”