North Korea fires missile into Sea of Japan

North Korea fires missile into Sea of Japan

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North Korea has fired an intermediate range missile in the direction of Japan, US military officials said.

The land-based missile was fired from near Panghyon airfield, and flew for 37 minutes before landing in the Sea of Japan, said the US Pacific Command.

Japan has lodged a protest and PM Shinzo Abe said the launch “clearly shows that the threat has grown”.

Pyongyang has increased the frequency of its nuclear and missile tests in recent months, raising tensions.

South Korea said Tuesday’s projectile was launched at 09:40 local time (00:40 GMT) and flew about 930km (578 miles).

The missile may have landed in waters claimed by Japan as its exclusive economic zone, according to Japanese officials.

The US said it did not pose a threat to North America.

Meanwhile Pyongyang is due to make an “important announcement” later on Tuesday, reported South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

North Korea last test-launched missiles in May. It fired projectiles on two separate occasions, both towards the Sea of Japan.

While Pyongyang has appeared to have made progress, experts believe North Korea does not have the capability to accurately target a place with an intercontinental ballistic missile or miniaturise a nuclear warhead that can fit on such a missile.

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