North Korea has launched an unidentified missile from Pyongyang, again, according to Japan’s national public broadcasting organization NHK.
The North also fired a missile over the northern part of the country just last month.
Thursday’s launch prompted the Japanese government to issue a warning to residents to find shelter. NHK reports the missile passed over Japan airspace and the island of Hokkaido.
This comes after Japan’s top government spokesman said that a North Korean threat to sink Japan with a nuclear bomb is “extremely provocative and outrageous.”
A statement from an organization called the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee attacked the United States for leading a push for stronger U.N. sanctions against North Korea, and railed against Japan for backing the U.S. campaign.
“The four islands of the (Japanese) archipelago should be sunken into the sea” by a nuclear bomb, the statement reads in part. It was distributed by the Korean Central News Agency, the state news service.
North Korea often issues bellicose threats that it doesn’t actually carry out. But Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, responding to a reporter’s question about the North Korean dispatch, said the statement “significantly escalates tension in the region and is absolutely unacceptable.”
2017 has been a year of rapid progress for North Korea’s missile program. The country has fired at least 21 missiles during 14 tests since February.
Analysts estimated that the North’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launched earlier this year could have reached Alaska, and another fired missile appeared to have significantly extended range.