The missile blasted off from near the Sunan International Airport north of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, and flew about 2,300 miles directly east, flying over northern Japan and falling into the Pacific Ocean. It was the 15th missile test by North Korea this year and the first since North Korea detonated its most powerful nuclear bomb to date on Sept. 3.
The test proved that North Korean ballistic missiles could reach with ease the American air base in Guam which is at the same distance. Neither the United States nor Japan tried to shoot down the missile. “The North American Aerospace Defense Command determined this ballistic missile did not pose a threat to North America,” a spokesman for United States Pacific Command, said in a statement. It also “did not pose a threat to Guam.” But in Japan an alert was issued on television and via cellphones, warning people to take shelter inside a building or underground. For the White House, the launching prompts a series of diplomatic and military challenges. Yoshihide Suga, chief cabinet secretary to Mr. Abe, said that Japan “absolutely cannot accept the repeated outrageous provocative actions by North Korea” and lodged an official protest. The UN Security Council will hold “urgent consultations” on Friday at the request of the United States and Japan.