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North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan

The ballistic missile travelled about 4,500 km before falling into the Pacific Ocean -- far enough to hit the US island of Guam if it took another trajectory, BBC reported.

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Tokyo: North Korea has fired a suspected missile over Japan, in what appears to be a deliberate escalation to get the attention of Tokyo and Washington.

The ballistic missile travelled about 4,500 km before falling into the Pacific Ocean — far enough to hit the US island of Guam if it took another trajectory, BBC reported.

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It is the first North Korean missile launch over Japan since 2017.

The launch saw Japan issue a rare alert to some citizens to take cover.

The UN prohibits North Korea from testing ballistic and nuclear weapon. Flying missiles towards or over other countries without any pre-warning or consultation also contravenes international norms.

Most countries avoid doing it completely as it can easily be mistaken for an attack. While it is not as a big as a nuclear test — which could be next — it can be considered hugely provocative, the BBC reported.

People in the north of Japan, including Hokkaido island, reportedly woke up to the noise of blaring sirens and text alerts which read: “North Korea appears to have launched a missile. Please evacuate into buildings or underground.”

As the missile flew overhead, they were warned to look out for falling debris.

Officials later said the intermediate-range ballistic missile fell into the Pacific Ocean far from Japan, and there were no reported injuries, the report said.

It had covered the longest distance ever travelled by a North Korean missile, and reached a height of around 1,000 km — higher than the International Space Station.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida described the launch as “violent behaviour”, while Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Japan would not rule out any options to strengthen its defences including “counterattack capabilities”.

The US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson called it a “dangerous and reckless decision” that was “destabilising” to the region.

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