Seoul: North Korea ignored UN resolutions by firing a medium-range ballistic missile into the sea yesterday, Seoul and Washington officials said, days after its leader Kim Jong Un ordered weapons tests linked to its pursuit of a long- range nuclear missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

A man watches a TV screen showing file footage of the missile launch conducted by North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul,  South Korea on Friday. The letters on the screen read “The missile [launched yesterday] puts all of South Korea and part of Japan within striking distance.” Pic/AFP
A man watches a TV screen showing file footage of the missile launch conducted by North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul,  South Korea on Friday. The letters on the screen read “The missile [launched yesterday] puts all of South Korea and part of Japan within striking distance.” Pic/AFP

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missile, fired from a site north of Pyongyang, flew for about 800 kilometres before crashing off the North’s east coast. It was the first medium-range missile launched by the North, since it fired two in April 2014, said a South Korean defence official.

A senior US defence official said the missile appeared to be a Rodong type fired from a road-mobile launcher. The test violated multiple UN Security Council resolutions that ban North Korea from engaging in any ballistic and nuclear activities, said the official. No fresh sanctions were expected for yesterday’s launch. The UN slapped the country with sanctions each time it conducted nuclear tests and long-range rocket launches, but usually responded to ballistic launches with statements criticising them.