Australia, New Zealand condemn North Korea missile launch over Japan

Both countries call it 'provocative' and 'unacceptable'.

Australia, New Zealand condemn North Korea missile launch over Japan

Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday condemned North Korea’s missile launch over Japanese territory, calling it "unacceptable behavior."

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement that her country strongly condemns North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile over Japanese territory – the first such test to overfly Japan since 2017.

"The test was a reckless and unacceptable act that threatens the security of our neighbors and partners and undermines the stability of the Indo-Pacific," she said.

The top diplomat accused Pyongyang of continuing to flout multiple UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting its dangerous ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs.

"We continue to be gravely concerned by North Korea’s apparent readiness to undertake a seventh nuclear weapons test," Wong said, urging Pyongyang to change course, abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, and resume dialogue with the US and North Korea.

Separately, New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta in a statement called the launch of a missile over Japan "dangerous and provocative.”

"NZ stands with our close friend Japan. North Korea can find security and prosperity through engagement with the international community, not through its missile and nuclear programmes," she tweeted.

Earlier, the Japan Defense Ministry said North Korea launched, what appears to be a ballistic missile, which could fly in the direction of Aomori and Hokkaido provinces in northern Japan, and warned people to seek shelter.

The ministry later stated that the missile had already fallen.

Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the missile flew 4,600 kilometers (2,858 miles), the longest distance ever for an intermediate-range or longer missile fired by North Korea, reaching an altitude of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

It was Pyongyang’s fifth missile launch in a week, and the heightened activity has drawn widespread international condemnation in recent days.

The escalation is thought to be in response to a joint military drill by the US, South Korea, and Japan in the East Sea.

Hüseyin Demir

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