North Korea’s missile test over Japan is a “grave” and “unprecedented” threat to the east Asian island, the country’s government has said.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, made the comments after the latest missile test, which passed over the north of Japan before landing in the sea. Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning told reporters that the launch posed no threat to North America, according to Reuters.
“We will make utmost efforts to firmly protect the lives of the people,” Reuters quoted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as telling reporters.
The launch promised to further exacerbate a geopolitical standoff over North Korea’s military ambitions. The isolated nation has been displaying its advances in missile technology with a series of missile tests over the last month, prompting a war of words with Donald Trump.
After Mr Trump warned that further provocations would incur “fire and fury” from the United States, North Korea responded that it was formulating plans to obliterate the small Pacific island of Guam, an American territory that hosts a military base.
Tension eased somewhat after North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong Un would wait on plans to launch a missile strike, which Mr Trump praised as “very wise and well reasoned”.
In pictures: North Korea military drill
But hopes of a significant de-escalation dimmed as North Korea launched multiple short-range missiles over the weekend. The country has kept up its bellicose rhetoric, casting ongoing joint war games between American and South Korea as an act of aggression.