August 29, 2017 / 1:14 AM / a year ago

Japan says North Korean missile likely an intermediate range rocket

TOKYO (Reuters) - A North Korean missile fired over northern Japan on Tuesday was likely the same type of intermediate range ballistic missile it fired in May and had threatened to launch at the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam, Japan’s defence minister said.

Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera speaks to reporters after North Korea's missile launch, at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Japan August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

“The missile reached an altitude of 550 kilometres,” Minister of Defence Itsunori Onodera told reporters. It broke in three before landing in the Pacific ocean, he said.

In May, North Korea fired a new strategic ballistic missile called the Hwasong-12 towards Japan on a lofted trajectory that reached an altitude of 2,111.5 km (1,312 miles). Fired at a standard trajectory, it would have a range of at least 4,000 km (2,500 miles), experts say.

Pyongyang later said it planned to fire the same kind of missile into waters close to Guam.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Paul Tait

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