Seoul/Washington: North Korea on Sunday launched a ballistic missile which flew around 700 km, the South Korean Joints Chief of Staff (JCS) reported.
This is the first provocation from North Korea since South Korea elected Moon Jae-in as the country’s new President on Wednesday.
According to the US calculations, the missile landed in water 60 miles south of Russia’s Vladivostok region. Vladivostock is home to the Russian Pacific Fleet.
The US called for repercussions from the international community.
“Let this latest provocation serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea with all immediacy,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.
“North Korea fired an unidentified missile at around 5.27 a.m. today (Sunday) from an area in the vicinity of Kusong, North Pyongan province,” Yonhap News Agency quoted the JCS as saying in a statement.
A US defence official confirmed that it flew that far, but said Washington was still investigating to determine the type of missile.
In response, South Korean President Moon has strongly condemned North Korea for the launch, describing it as a grave threat to regional security and a clear violation of the UN Security Council resolutions.
He also called on Pyongyang to reverse its course of provocations for the resumption of dialogue while warning that his administration would deal resolutely in order to ensure it would not “miscalculate” the situation.
“Even if dialogue is possible, (we) should show (to North Korea) that it’s possible only in case of North Korea changing its attitude,” Moon said, presiding over a session of the National Security Council.
Moon asked for a review of a missile system that is being developed to protect South Korea.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also slammed the launch, reports CNN.
“Despite strong warning from the international community, North Korea launched a ballistic missile again,” Abe said, adding “This is totally unacceptable and we strongly protest it. North Korea’s missile launch is a serious threat to Japan and clearly violate against the UN resolution.”
The projectile launch comes two weeks after a ballistic missile test that South Korean and US officials said failed.
That missile, launched on April 29, blew up over land in North Korean territory, according to a spokesman for the US Pacific Command.
Though tensions between the United States and North Korea have been higher than usual over the past few months, a senior North Korean diplomat told Yonhap News Agency on Saturday that Pyongyang is open to talks with Washington “under the right conditions”.