SEOUL (AFP) – North Korea on Wednesday fired a ballistic missile into the sea off northern Japan, drawing an outraged response from Tokyo and ramping up already elevated tensions with the United States and South Korea.
The US military said the North had actually launched two Rodong intermediate-range missiles simultaneously, but one appeared to have exploded on take-off. The launches came after North Korea threatened “physical action” in response to the planned deployment of a sophisticated US anti-missile system in South Korea, and just weeks before the start of annual joint South Korea-US military exercises. Japan said the one missile had landed 250 kilometers (155 miles) off its northern coast and within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). “It’s a serious threat against our country’s security,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. “This is an outrageous act that cannot be tolerated.”