3 Aug 2016

North Korea fires missile into Japanese waters

6:16 pm on 3 August 2016

North Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile off its eastern coast prompting immediate international condemnation.

This undated file photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 21, 2016 shows a missile fired during a drill by Hwasong artillery units of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army.

This photo released by the North Korea's official news agency late last month shows a missile fired during a drill. Photo: AFP / Korean Central News Agency via KNS

The test is the latest in a series of missile launches by North Korea in defiance of United Nations resolutions.

South Korea said it showed the North's ambition to attack its neighbours.

Japan said the missile travelled 1000km and landed in the Sea of Japan, inside its exclusive economic zone.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it posed a grave threat to Japan's security, calling it an "unforgiveable act of violence", and said Tokyo had protested strongly against it.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) speaks to reporters at his official residence in Tokyo on August 3, 2016.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters the test was an "outrageous act". Photo: AFP

The United States similarly condemned the launch.

"We remain prepared to work to respond to further DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] provocations, as well as to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation," said State Department spokeswoman Anna Richey-Allen.

Its Strategic Command said two missiles had been fired simultaneously on Wednesday and that one exploded immediately after launch.

North Korea is barred from developing nuclear and ballistic missile technology by UN resolution, but it has vowed a "physical response" to the US and Seoul's plan to deploy an advanced missile defence system in South Korea.

North Korea has previously said it was testing its ability to strike bases used by US forces in South Korea.

-BBC