Pentagon: North Korea launched ballistic missile that flew over Japan

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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has launched a missile that flew over Japan, the Pentagon confirmed Monday.

“The missile launched by North Korea flew over Japan,” Pentagon spokesman US Army Col. Rob Manning said. “We are still in the process of assessing this launch.”

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs issued a statement that North Korea “fired an unidentified projectile” from an area near Sunan, Pyongyang, toward the sea east of the Korean Peninsula, that “flew over Japan.”

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday said the missile traveled around 2,700 kilometers (1677 miles) and reached a maximum height of 550 kilometers (341 miles) as it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and fell into the Pacific Ocean. The JCS said it is analyzing the launch with the United States and also that South Korea’s military has strengthened its monitoring and preparation in case of further actions from North Korea.

In 1998, North Korea was criticized for overflying Japan with its test of a satellite launch vehicle, but the rogue nation has not overflown Japan with any missiles since with the exception of a failed 2009 launch that landed in the Pacific.

The launch occurred at 5:57am local time.

Manning said that NORAD determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.

“We are working closely with Pacific Command, Strategic Command and NORAD and we will provide an update as soon as possible,” Manning said.

A U.S. official said U.S. spy satellites had been observing preparations for a ballistic missile test that would most likely be an intermediate range missile that could reach Guam. The official says the assessment is ongoing.

This launch comes only days after Pyongyang fired three short-range ballistic missiles from the Kangwon province on Saturday.