Apparent N. Korean ICBM Falls into Japan's EEZ
Seoul, Feb. 18 (Jiji Press)--North Korea fired a ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan from around Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang around 5:21 p.m. Saturday (8:21 a.m. GMT), the South Korean military said.
The projectile was believed to be intercontinental ballistic missile-class. According to Japan's Defense Ministry, the suspected missile is estimated to have traveled for some 66 minutes and fell into waters within the country's exclusive economic zone, at a point some 200 kilometers west of the island of Oshima-Oshima in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido around 6:27 p.m.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters that the missile could have a range of over 14,000 kilometers and possibly be capable of hitting any point in the United States. The missile is believed to have been launched on a lofted trajectory, according to Hamada.
This is the first ballistic missile launch by North Korea since Jan. 1. The latest missile became the first to have fallen within Japan's EEZ since November last year. The missile is believed to have traveled a distance of some 900 kilometers and reached a maximum altitude of about 5,700 kilometers. No report on damage to ships or aircraft has been made.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida strongly denounced the launch, while instructing officials of his government to collect and analyze information about the missile, thoroughly check the safety of ships and aircraft, and fully prepare for unexpected developments.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]