North Korea fires ballistic missile

AP file photo
A TV screen shows an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul on Thursday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — North Korea fired at least one ballistic missile early Friday morning, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said.

The missile was fired around 1:47 a.m. (5:47 p.m. Thursday GMT) and is believed to have fallen outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Hamada told reporters.

South Korea’s military said North Korea fired a ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan.

Hamada said the missile traveled about 650 kilometers at a maximum altitude of about 50 kilometers. No damage to aircraft or ships has been reported, he said.

He condemned the North Korean action, saying this was the eighth round of missile launches in a short period since late September and that Pyongyang has been escalating provocations persistently and one-sidedly.

“The series of North Korean actions threaten peace and stability in Japan and the international community and are absolutely unacceptable,” Hamada said, adding that Japan lodged a protest via its embassy in Beijing.