North Korea fires missile over Japan

(CNN) – South Korea’s air force has staged a live-fire drill simulating the destruction of North Korea’s leadership, hours after Pyongyang launched a missile over Japan.

Just before 6 am South Korea time today (August 29), North Korea fired an unidentified missile from near the capital Pyongyang, towards the northeast.

It flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, making it the first North Korean projectile to successfully pass over Japanese territory since 1998. It subsequently broke up and fell into the Pacific Ocean.

Just hours after the launch, South Korea’s Presidential Office announced four F-15K jetfighters had dropped eight MK84 bombs on a simulated target at the Taebaek Pilsung Firing Range in the country’s northeastern Gangwon province, about five hours drive from Seoul .

In a press conference, presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan said South Korean leader Moon Jae-in had wanted “to showcase a strong punishment capability against the North.”

An official with the South Korean Defense Ministry told CNN the one-ton bombs had all landed on target.

“The drill reconfirmed South Korea Air Force capability to destroy the enemy’s leadership in cases of emergency,” the official said.

‘Most serious and grave ever’

International reaction to North Korea’s missile launch was swift. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it was the “most serious and grave ever” threat to his country.

Japanese authorities say the missile flew an estimated 2,700 kilometers (1,678 miles) after being launched from the west coast of North Korea towards the northeast.

It was launched at around 5.58 am, Japan time, and was in the air for about 15 minutes.

At its peak, it reached 550 kilometers in altitude (342 miles) before breaking up over the Japan Sea, also known as East Sea.

South Korea joined with the United States and Japan today in calling for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the North Korea launch, Japan’s UN ambassador Koro Bessho told CNN.

It will be held on Tuesday afternoon, two UN diplomats told CNN.

“Our goal is to stop North Korea from going down this road. The international community has to put more pressure on North Korea,” Ambassador Bessho said.

US President Donald Trump spoke to Abe following the launch, where he reiterated the US stood behind Japan “100 per cent,” Abe told reporters.


Top: Two women look at the path of the missile North Korea fired this morning. Photo: CNN



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