North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) potentially capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to anywhere on the U.S. mainland, Japan’s defense minister reportedly said on Friday, the latest in a series of inflammatory maneuvers as tensions in the region soar and concerns grow that Pyongyang is preparing to carry out a major nuclear weapons test.
The missile, designed to carry nuclear warheads over long distances, landed in the sea to the west of an island in Japan’s northern Hokkaido prefecture, inside the country’s exclusive economic zone.
There have been no reports of damage to aircraft or ships in the area.
Pyongyang also launched a short range ballistic missile on the same day, the BBC reported.
Leaders from the U.S., South Korea and Japan condemned the launch on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Bangkok, calling the test a “brazen violation” of UN sanctions and vowing a strong international response.
The launch is the latest in a series of tests contributing towards rising tensions in the region and comes amid growing concerns Pyongyang is preparing to resume testing nuclear weapons. Pyongyang’s tests of ICBMs are rarer and the hermit kingdom is banned from testing them under UN sanctions, alongside nuclear weapons. The regime has endured strict international sanctions for previous tests of its missile and nuclear weapons programs.
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