North Korea has test fired another ballistic missile, this time landing in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the first to reach the area since 1998.
The zone extends 200 nautical miles from Japan’s coast and, whilst it’s within international waters, is under Japanese control. All coastal states are legally entitled to control such a zone under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.
Believed to be a Rodong missile with a range of 1200 kilometres, the missile fell into the Sea of Japan about 1000 kilometres east of North Korea.
A second missile was also fired but failed shortly after take off.
The launches will further escalate regional tensions that remain high after a series of missile launches and the decision by the United States to place a sophisticated anti-missile system in South Korea.
North Korea responded by threatening a “physical response” against the deployment decision.
In Tokyo Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the launches.
“It is a considerable threat to our national security that North Korea’s missile has landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zones. I firmly protested against North Korea’s unforgivable action which is in obvious defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions,” he said.
North Korea came under the latest round of U.N. Security Council sanctions in March after its fourth nuclear test in January and the launch of a long-range rocket the following month.
Tensions have been high on the Korean peninsula since the January nuclear test. The two Koreas remain technically at war under a truce that ended fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War.