Updated Oct 4, 2022 - World

North Korea's military fires missile over Japan

kim jong un

Footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is shown on a television screen in September. Photo: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday morning local time — prompting a warning to residents to take shelter, according to the Japanese prime minister's office.

Why it matters: The action marks a major escalation following a spate of missile tests in recent weeks by Pyongyang — which fired a ballistic missile toward South Korea's eastern waters last week ahead of Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to the country.

  • The Biden administration condemned Pyongyang's first missile launch over Japan since 2017 as "dangerous and reckless."
  • State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement early Tuesday the launch was a "blatant disregard of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and its deeply destabilizing implications for the region." It posed "an unacceptable threat to the Japanese public," Price said.

Details: The missile is believed to have passed over Japan toward the Pacific Ocean just before 7:30 a.m., the Prime Minister's Office said.

  • It landed in the Pacific Ocean 17 minutes later, per the New York Times.
  • Japanese officials also suspended trains due to the ballistic missile that has the potential of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam, AP notes.

By the numbers: Officials in Japan and South Korea estimated the missile traveled 2,800-2,860 miles — the longest flight by any such North Korean weapon, per AP.

What they're saying: Both Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with their Japanese and South Korean counterparts, according to statements issued by the White House and State Department.

  • Price said Blinken underscored the U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan remained "ironclad," as he "reaffirmed the importance of continuing close trilateral cooperation" with the two countries to hold Pyongyang "accountable for its unacceptable behavior."
  • National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement that the U.S. "will continue its efforts to limit [North Korea's] ability to advance its prohibited ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs, including with allies and UN partners."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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