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North Korea says fired missile over Japan on Tuesday

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Nuclear-armed North Korea said Wednesday that it had fired a missile over Japan the previous day, the first time it has ever acknowledged doing so.

[SEOUL] Nuclear-armed North Korea said Wednesday that it had fired a missile over Japan the previous day, the first time it has ever acknowledged doing so.

The launch represented a major escalation by Pyongyang in the face of tensions over its weapons programmes, which have seen it threaten to send a salvo of missiles towards the US territory of Guam and prompted President Donald Trump to warn of "fire and fury".

The launch of the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile was supervised by leader Kim Jong Un, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

It "crossed the sky above Oshima peninsula of Hokkaido and Cape Erimo of Japan along the preset flight track and accurately hit the preset target waters in northern Pacific", it said.

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South Korea's military said on Tuesday that it had travelled around 2,700km and reached a maximum altitude of 550km.

North Korea has twice previously sent rockets over the main islands of Japan, in 1998 and 2009, but on both occasions claimed they were space launch vehicles.

"The drill had no impact on the security of the neighbouring countries," KCNA insisted, adding that Kim expressed "great satisfaction" over the launch.

There would be "more ballistic rocket launching drills with the Pacific as a target in the future", it cited him as saying.

The launch, it added, was timed to mark the 107th anniversary of the Japan-Korea treaty of 1910, under which Tokyo colonised the Korean peninsula.

By doing so, it said Kim "gave vent to the long-pent grudge of the Korean people" with "a bold plan to make the cruel Japanese islanders insensible on bloody August 29".

AFP