North Korea launched a missile directed over Japan at 5.58 am, local time, prompting Japanese authorities to warn civilians in the northern part of the country to take necessary precautions.
Japanese officials report that the missile “blew apart” into three pieces before splashing down into the Pacific Ocean.
Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe has called the North’s launch “an unprecedented, grave and serious threat” that damaged the security of the region.
Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull similarly condemned North Korea’s actions, saying it’s “an unacceptable threat to peace and stability in our region”.
Turnbull said the test firing represents a serious escalation and “a provocative and threatening act” by a dangerous regime.
“North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions and continues in defiance of repeated demands by the international community for the regime to halt these actions and focus the country’s resources on the welfare of its impoverished people,” he said.
He repeated previous calls to North Korea’s major economic partners, including China and Russia, “to use their bilateral economic leverage over Pyongyang to persuade the regime to abandon its illegal missile and nuclear weapons programs”.
Earlier this month, Turnbull confirmed that Australia would enter the conflict if North Korea launched an attack on the US.
“If there is an attack on the United States by North Korea then the ANZUS treaty will be invoked and Australia will come to the aid of the United States, just as if there was an attack on Australia, the United States would come to our aid,” he said, adding “The United States has no stronger ally than Australia.”
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