WASHINGTON — North Korea launched a ballistic missile that likely flew over Japan, the militaries of South Korea and Japan said Wednesday night.
The unidentified ballistic missile was launched into the Sea of Japan, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed to NBC News.
The White House and Pentagon did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The latest missile test comes as members of the United Nations Security Council called a meeting to discuss North Korea’s October 3 test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile over northern Japan. The United Nations bans North Korea from testing ballistic and nuclear weapons.
There is an alarming shift in the way North Korea is approaching nuclear weapons, says Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
Chung Sung Jun | News from Getty Images | Getty Images
The missile traveled 2,800 miles, a distance that puts the US territory of Guam on its trajectory, before crashing into the Pacific.
The provocative test led to late-night calls from White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to his Japanese and South Korean counterparts. President Joe Biden condemned the missile test in a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday. Biden also discussed ways to “limit North Korea’s ability to support its illicit ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs,” according to a White House readout of the call.
The test, the first to overfly Japan in five years, was met with a volley of American and South Korean missiles. The Pentagon said the four missiles were fired into waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula.
In the past 10 days, Pyongyang has conducted five separate launches of eight ballistic missiles.
“Among those launches, the last one was particularly significant. It flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean for the first time since 2017. I suppose we can all imagine how terrifying it must be to see a missile flying overhead,” Ishikane Kimihiro, the Japanese ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council.
“This is absolutely unacceptable and Japan condemns it in the strongest terms,” he added.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the Biden administration will “not stand by” amid brazen missile tests in Pyongyang.
“Despite North Korea’s lack of engagement, the United States remains committed to dialogue and diplomacy. However, the United States will not stand by as North Korea directly threatens the United States, our allies and the entire world,” she said in remarks before the Security Council.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s foreign ministry condemned the US for convening the Security Council meeting and participating in joint military exercises with South Korea.
“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea observes that the US poses a serious threat to the stability of the situation on and around the Korean peninsula by relocating the carrier task force in the waters off the Korean peninsula,” the State Department wrote in a Expression.
Under Kim Jong Un, the reclusive state has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, launched its first-ever ICBM and threatened to send missiles into waters near the US territory of Guam.
Since 2011, Kim has launched more than 100 missiles and conducted four nuclear weapons tests, which is more than what his father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung have launched in a 27-year period.
North Korea has fired 39 ballistic missile tests so far this year.