North Korean missile flies over Hokkaido, Japan says

SEOUL, South Korea (CBS News) -- North Korea has fired an unidentified missile from its capital, Pyongyang, South Korea says, in a move that the South Korea's foreign ministry strongly condemned.

In a statement late Thursday, South Korea said it is fully prepared to respond against any North Korean threat.

"The government will protect the lives of the people and the security of the Republic of Korea," a translated part of the statement read. It also mentioned that "North Korea should clearly recognize that abandoning its nuclear and missile development is a genuine way of assuring its own security and economic development."

According to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the missile was launched at 6:57 a.m. Japan time Friday, flew over Hokkaido and splashed down at 7:06 a.m., about 2,000 kilometers east of Cape Erimo, according to the Reuters news agency.

A military source tells CBS News the intermediate range missile never posed a threat to the U.S. or Guam.

CBS News foreign correspondent Ben Tracy, who is based in Beijing, reports the playbook seems nearly identical to the last launch, appearing to have been launched from at or near the airport in Pyongyang and it flew over Hokkaido.

South Korea says the missile flew over Japan.

"North Korea fired an unidentified missile eastward from the vicinity of Pyongyang this morning," South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Friday that the missile was launched from Sunan, the site of Pyongyang's international airport.

Japan's public broadcasting organization, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), reports the missile "has flown over northern Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean." The Japanese government was advising people to stay away from anything that looks like missile debris, NHK reported.

The North last month used the airport to fire a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile that flew over northern Japan in what it declared as a "meaningful prelude" to containing the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam and the start of more ballistic missile launches targeting the Pacific Ocean.

CBS News learned Thursday evening that there will be a U.N. Security Council closed-door consultation Friday at 3 p.m. at the request of the U.S., Japan and South Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said late Thursday that "China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own." Tillerson added, "these continued provocations only deepen North Korea's diplomatic and economic isolation," and "all nations to take new measures," in wake of the North's latest missile launch.

South Korea's Defense Ministry says the country's military conducted a live-fire ballistic missile drill in response to the North's launch.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has scheduled a National Security Council meeting to discuss the launch. 

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the missile launch a reckless act by the North Koreans.

Mattis was at the U.S. Strategic Command headquarters in Nebraska at the time of the launch and said afterward the missile "was fired over Japan and put millions of Japanese in duck and cover."

Asked about a possible American military response, Mattis said, "I don't want to talk on that yet."

According to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Mattis, President Trump has been debriefed on the missile launch.

Also weighing in is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who said Friday the United Nations sanctions on North Korea needed to be firmly imposed, Reuters reports. He urged the international community must send a clear message to North Korea.

Last week, the U.S., Japan and South Korea said they hoped a new round of tough sanctions might bring North Korea to negotiations.

China had been on board to impose tough sanctions against North Korea in August. The latest round of U.N. measures showed a break on the distance to which Beijing wishes to go to pressure the government of Kim Jong Un, making options open to the U.N. limited.

Tillerson wrote Thursday, "United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the most recent unanimous sanctions resolution, represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take. We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim regime." 

During a conversation on CBSN, Isaac Stone Fish, senior fellow for Asia Society, addressed recent sanctions that the United Nations imposed this week against North Korea.

"I think we do have to realize that North Korea is a nuclear armed state," Fish said. "I think the question is how to get them to behave more like a responsible member of the international system and less like a truculent aggressor."

According to Fish, it remains unclear as to whether or not China is willing to sponsor additional sanctions against North Korea.

"I think the United States would certainly like that," he said. "If China does not believe in these sanctions, they're not going to have a bite."

 

This article originally posted on CBSNews.com


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