North Korea is believed to have conducted a new missile launch, officials from three countries – Japan, South Korea and the US – confirmed on Friday.
A “flying body considered to be a missile” has been launched, Japanese officials said, adding that they are currently collecting information for further analysis.
There is a possibility the missile could have landed in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Japan, in the Sea of Japan, NHK reported citing the country’s Defense Ministry.
The possible launch is believed to have been conducted “before midnight” on July 28 local time, the Japanese authorities told NHK, adding that a warning to ships and other vessels in the area has been issued.
The suspected missile could have flown higher than 3,000km (1,864 miles), NHK reported citing a military official.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is convening an emergency meeting.
South Korea confirmed that an “unidentified missile” had been fired from the North, the Yonhap news agency reported.
According to the South Korean data, what appears to be a ballistic missile was launched late on Friday from the northern Jangang province.
It flew for about 45 minutes, Japanese officials say, with their South Korean counterparts adding that the reported weapon landed in the sea off North Korea’s east coast.
The US also confirmed what it “assesses” to be “a ballistic missile launch” from North Korea, the Pentagon said. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the launch occurred at about 10:45am (local time).
The reported launch “shows clearly that the threat… is severe and real,” Abe said, calling on other nations, including the US, Russia, South Korea and China to increase pressure on Pyongyang.
Earlier on Friday, Tokyo approved additional sanctions on Pyongyang and foreign firms believed to be dealing with North Korea.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said five entities, including two Chinese organizations, and nine individuals, will be “newly subject to asset freezing” and other unilateral punishment.
The additional pressure on Pyongyang is needed as any meaningful dialogue with North Korea appears to be “impossible,” Kishida reportedly stressed.
The US Senate has also approved further sanctions on three nations, including North Korea, with the bill now on its way to President Donald Trump for confirmation.