North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )
North Korea's missile launch has elicited reactions from countries in the region and the United States
North Korea's missile launch on Tuesday (October 19) drew stern reactions from countries in the region and the United States. The UN condemned North Korea and called on it to "refrain from any further destabilizing acts."
"We are aware of the North Korean ballistic missile launch this morning into the Sea of Japan and are consulting closely with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan," the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement, adding that "this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel, territory, or that of our allies."
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday said North Korea fired two ballistic missiles earlier in the day, and called that country's continued missile launches since last month "very regrettable."
The North Korean launch would be the latest weapons test by the country, which has pressed ahead with military development in the face of international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.
"I'd rather not predict North Korea's intentions (of firing the missiles) from my point of view. But I think we must continue making efforts on grasping the situation and collecting information," Kishida told reporters at Fukushima station during a business trip.
China meanwhile has appealed for restraint
"All parties concerned should focus on the overall situation, exercise restraint, commit to maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, and carry on in the right direction of dialogue and consultation," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.
South Korea, the bitter rival of North Korea, said that it was monitoring the situation.
"Our military is closely monitoring the situation and maintaining readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States, to prepare for possible additional launches," South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
(With inputs from agencies)