SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Monday that flew 280 miles and appears to have landed inside Japan’s economic zone where fishing and cargo ships are active, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea called a security council meeting for later Monday morning to discuss the missile launch, coming a week after the North last tested a ballistic missile, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan condemned the launch as a provocation.
“We absolutely cannot accept North Korea’s repeated provocations despite repeated warnings by the international community,” Mr. Abe said Monday morning. He added that leaders at the recent Group of 7 meeting in Taormina, Sicily, had confirmed that deterring North Korea’s nuclear ambitions was a “top priority,” and that Japan would work closely with the United States and South Korea to “make the utmost efforts to ensure people’s safety.”
The missile fired on Monday appears to have landed in the sea between Korea and Japan, inside the country’s so-called exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from the coast. There were no immediate reports of damage to any ships or aircraft operating in the area, said Yoshihide Suga, Mr. Abe’s chief cabinet secretary.
The missile was fired from Wonsan, on North Korea’s east coast, and flew for 280 miles, the South Korean military said in a statement. The United States Pacific Command said in its own statement that the short-range ballistic missile was tracked from North Korea for six minutes before it landed in the sea.
In March, when North Korea launched four missiles at once, three of them landed within Japan’s economic zone. Those launches raised concerns that the North Korean government of Kim Jong-un had developed the ability to pose a greater threat to its neighbors and potentially overwhelm any missile defense systems.
North Korea has a fleet of short- and medium-range missiles deployed, despite a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibiting Pyongyang from testing ballistic missiles.
The launch on Monday was the first since North Korea tested its Pukguksong-2 missile last week. The Pukguksong-2 is a midrange ballistic missile that South Korean officials have said cannot fly far enough to reach American military bases in Guam.
Still, the Pukguksong-2, first tested in February, represents key strides in the North’s missile technologies. The missile is fired from a mobile launch vehicle. And unlike most North Korean missiles, it uses solid fuel, rather than liquid, which means it can be prepared ahead of time in secret and fired quickly, making it difficult for the North’s enemies to detect an attack.
North Korea, has said it would start mass-producing the Pukguksong-2.