The United States is preparing with Japan and South Korea a “forceful response” to today’s launch of a North Korean ballistic missile over Japan, the White House said.
US National Security Advisor Jack Sullivan met separately with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts to develop an “adequate and robust international response” and reaffirm the United States’ “iron commitment” to the defense of Japan and South Korea, spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said.
The United States Command for Asia and the Pacific condemned the launch of the ballistic missile and assured that “Washington’s commitments to the defense of Japan and South Korea remain unwavering.”
“The United States condemns these actions and calls on North Korea to refrain from further illegal and destabilizing acts,” it added.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol had already promised “a firm response.”
The firing of the missile, which flew over northern Japan, prompted the first warnings in five years for residents who were asked to leave buildings, according to the Japanese government.
It also forced the temporary suspension of rail traffic in the Aomori region and on the island of Hokkaido, in the north of the archipelago, it added.
Japanese authorities said the projectile had landed in the Pacific Ocean.
South Korea also detected the North Korean launch, which was headed for North Eastern waters.
The firing marks the fifth round of weapons tests by North Korea in the past 10 days, in an apparent response to military exercises between Japan, South Korea and the United States, which took place late last month, by first time in five years.
Pyongyang sees US-led military exercises in the region, particularly with South Korea, as preparation for an invasion, though Washington and Seoul have repeatedly denied any intention to attack the North.
Technically, the two Koreas are still at war, as the 1950-53 conflict ended with the signing of an armistice rather than a peace treaty.