North Korea launches missile into Japanese waters, officials say


North Korea launched a ballistic missile Friday night that potentiallylanded in Japanese waters,the Japanese and American officials confirmed.

The aggressive action marks the latest threat from Pyongyang as it edges closer to conflict with the United States.

Japan’sChief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Sugasaid North Korea fired the missile at 11:42pm local time on Friday night and it landed 45 minutes later, according to Japanese national public broadcaster NHK. Japanese government sources also told NHK that vessels in the country’s economic zone received warnings shortly after the launch was detected.

It was not immediately clear whether the missile caused any damage.

The Associated Pressreports thatJapanese Prime Minister ShinzAbe called a meeting with his National Security Council to discuss the launch. The U.S. government responded similarly, as Pentagon spokesman and Navy Captain Jeff Davis said, We are assessing it and will have more information soon.

On Wednesday, North Korea once again threateneda preemptive nuclear strike the against U.S.

If enemies misunderstand our strategic status and stick to options of staging a pre-emptive nuclear attack against us, we will launch a nuclear attack on America’s heart as the most relentless punishment without warning or prior notice, Pak Yong Sik, North Korea’s defence minister, said in a statement, according to the country’s state-run news agency.

Gen. Mark Milley, the U.S. Army’s chief of staff,said in a speech at the National Press Clubon Thursday that North Korea is the single most dangerous threat facing the international community right now.

AWashington Post/ABC News pollreleased earlier this month found that 74 percent of Americans are very or somewhat concerned about nuclear war with North Korea.

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