Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has condemned North Korea for firing a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday that landed in his country’s exclusive economic zone.
Japan’s Coast Guard said the missile landed about 130 miles (210 km) from an island in northern Hokkaido. There were no reports of damage to ships or aircraft.
“We have of course launched a strong protest against North Korea, which has repeated its provocations with unprecedented frequency,” Kishida told reporters in Thailand, where he is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. His remarks were broadcast live in Japan.
“We have told (Pyongyang) that we absolutely cannot tolerate such actions,” Kishida said.
“Japan, the US and South Korea must work closely together to work towards the complete denuclearization of North Korea.”
The launch came a day after North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile while warning of “more vehement military responses” to US efforts to bolster its security presence in the region with its allies, saying Washington was taking a “gamble”. ventured what it would regret”.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday that: “North Korea launched an ICBM-class ballistic missile from the west coast of the Korean peninsula today at around 10.14 (0114 GMT).”
Seoul-based specialist site NK News reported that photos and video from Pyongyang showed a white contrail in the sky visible from the city.
South Korea’s National Security Council met on Friday to discuss the suspected ICBM launch, the presidential office said.
The launch was North Korea’s second ICBM test this month. Outside experts said an ICBM launched by North Korea on Nov. 3 failed mid-flight.
That test was believed to involve a new type of developmental ICBM.
North Korea has two other types of ICBM – Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 and their test launches in 2017 have proven they can potentially reach parts of the US mainland.
This year, North Korea has conducted a record number of such tests, banned by UN Security Council resolutions that have sanctioned the country for its missile and nuclear weapons programs.
The North also recently fired hundreds of artillery shells into the sea as South Korea and the US staged exercises, some of which involved Japan.
The country had halted weapons launches about a week before Thursday’s test, which was preceded by the North’s foreign minister Choe Son-hui threatening “firmer” military responses.
Choe referred to US President Joe Biden’s recent trilateral summit with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Cambodia.
In their joint statement, the three leaders strongly condemned North Korea’s recent missile tests and agreed to work together to strengthen deterrence. Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to defend South Korea and Japan with a full range of capabilities, including its nuclear weapons.
On Thursday evening, Kishida said he had expressed “serious concerns” to Chinese President Xi Jinping over security issues, including North Korea, after the two leaders held their first face-to-face talks.
“On North Korea, I expressed our expectation that China will play a role, including in the UN Security Council.”