According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, North Korea fired the missile towards the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, as the latest act of defiance from Pyongyang amid tensions with Seoul and Washington.
Japan also confirmed the launch, with the office of PM Fumio Kishida tweeting at 1034 GMT that “North Korea launched what appears to be a ballistic missile.”
Following the missile launch, the Japanese government urged Hokkaido residents to take shelter on Thursday morning and issued an initial warning, telling them to evacuate immediately and take shelter in a building or underground.
Later PM Fumio Kishida confirmed that the missile “did not fall in Japanese territory.”
North Korean tests ‘nuclear-capable underwater drones’
Pyongyang has been carrying out a series of weapons tests. North Korea’s state media has claimed that the country tested nuclear-capable underwater drones and two intercontinental ballistic missiles, earlier this year.
On Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended a meeting of the Central Military Commission to discuss ways to “cope with the escalating moves of the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet traitors to unleash a war of aggression,” Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency said.
Kim ordered that the country’s deterrence capabilities be strengthened with “increasing speed” and in a “more practical and offensive” manner.
North Korea last year declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power, effectively ending the possibility of denuclearisation talks.
Earlier this year, Kim ordered the military to intensify drills to prepare for a “real war”.