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DPRK fires missile in waters off Japan's Hokkaido island

China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-08-29 11:50

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea fired a missile that flew over Japan and landed in waters off the northern region of Hokkaido early on Tuesday, South Korean and Japanese officials said.

The test came as US and South Korean forces conducted annual military drills on the peninsula, which Pyongyang deemed a provocation.

On Monday, the DPRK asked the United Nations to urgently discuss the joint military drill.

In Washington, the Pentagon confirmed that the missile flew over Japan but did not pose a threat to North America; it said it was gathering more information.

South Korea said on Tuesday that it strongly condemned the ballistic missile and will "respond strongly" if the DPRK continues such actions.

The missile flew 1,677 miles on Tuesday morning local time at a maximum altitude of 341 miles, passing through the sky over Japan before falling into the North Pacific Ocean, the South Korean military said.

The Japanese military did not attempt to shoot down the missile, which passed over Japanese territory around 6:07 am local time.

There was no immediate response from the Chinese Foreign Ministry on the DPRK's latest launch. On Monday, Beijing called on all parties to exercise restraint to find an effective way out of the Korean Peninsula issue.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remarks while responding to a question regarding the test firing of the three short-range missiles that the DPRK launched on Saturday.

Currently, the situation on the peninsula is complicated and sensitive, Hua said.

"Relevant parties should exercise restraint, refrain from any action that may irritate each other or intensify tensions, and make concerted efforts to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula," Hua said.

The "dual-track approach" and the "suspension for suspension" initiative proposed by China are the most practical ways to address the security concerns of relevant parties in a balanced way, she said.

Hua's comments came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday that the United States will continue to seek a peaceful solution to the issue despite the recent missile launch by the DPRK.

"The firing of any ballistic missile is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and we do view it as a provocative act, a provocative act against the United States and our allies," Tillerson said on Fox News.

"We are going to continue our peaceful pressure campaign as I have described that working with allies, working with China as well, to see if we can bring the regime in Pyongyang to the negotiating table."

The missile launch also came shortly after Tillerson said that he was pleased with the DPRK's restraint in recent weeks.

"I don't know that we're wrong," Tillerson said. "I think it's going to take some time to tell. This type of launch again, it is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. So, it is ... clearly, they are still messaging us as well, that they are not prepared to completely back away from their position."

Agencies - China Daily

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