North Korea launched an unidentified missile on Thursday, according to multiple reports.
The missile was launched from the communist dictatorship’s capital of Pyongyang headed east, NBC News and Reuters reported, citing the South Korean military. The projectile passed over Japan, Japan’s NHK reported.
The South Korean and American militaries are analyzing the launch, the reports said.
The reports follow North Korea’s test of an alleged hydrogen bomb earlier this month. That test, its sixth and easily its most powerful, prompted fresh, unanimous United Nations Security Council sanctions and stern rhetoric from U.S. President Donald Trump.
The international community has tried for years to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. But Pyongyang continues to test weapons and threaten other countries in the face of international sanctions and warnings.
On Tuesday, Trump called the new sanctions “not a big deal” and “nothing compared to what will have to happen.”
Top U.S. officials have repeatedly said they do not want to take military action against North Korea. But Trump has left the door open to the possible use of force.
The U.S. dollar initially dropped against the safe-haven yen and Swiss franc following the reports, before recovering some of those losses.
Japan’s public broadcaster NHK said the missile passed over the northern island of Hokkaido ans landed in the Pacific about 2,000 km east of Japan. The government said there was no danger to people or shipping rom missile debris.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House has called an urgent meeting of its national security council.
The North’s launch comes a day after Pyongyang threatened to sink Japan and reduce the United States to “ashes and darkness” for supporting a UN security council resolution imposing new sanctions against it for its 3 September nuclear test.
The North previously launched a ballistic missile from Sunan on 29 August which flew over Japan’s Hokkaido island and landed in the Pacific waters.
Earlier on Thursday the US general who oversees America’s nuclear forces said he was making the assumption that North Korea did in fact test a hydrogen bomb on 3 September crossing a key threshold in its weapons development efforts.
Although Pyongyang immediately claimed that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, the United States had previously declined to characterise it.
Air Force General John Hyten, head of the US military’s strategic command, however, said he had a responsibility, as a military officer responsible for responding to the test, to assume that it was a hydrogen bomb, based on the size of the blast.
“I’m assuming it was a hydrogen bomb. I have to make that assumption as a military officer,” Hyten told a small group of reporters who were accompanying Defence Secretary Jim Mattie on a trip to Hyten’s headquarters in Nebraska.
This is breaking news.
Sources: Independent and CNBC