In what could be deemed an act of defiance and provocation, North Korea fired yet another missile early on Tuesday, this time over Japan's territorial waters. The missile, according to Japanese officials flew over the northern Japanese Island of Hokkaido and then landed in the sea after breaking up.

According to South Korea's military, the missile was fired from the Sunan region which is near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang at around 6 PM on Tuesday(21.00GMT, Monday).

Japanese military sources confirmed the incident and said the projectile broke into three pieces which then fell into the waters approximately 1,180km east of Cape Erimo.

Although the military sent out a J-alert warning system asking the people around the area to take precautions, the Japanese government did not attempt to shoot down the missile. No damage has been reported.

War games

This latest incident takes place while U.S. and South Korean forces are taking part in their annual military drills to which North Korea strongly objects. In the past, North Korea has always reacted angrily to the joint military drills by fire-testing missiles and threatening Seoul and Washington using State media, but they have never gone as far as firing a missile over a key U.S. ally like Japan. Experts say that this latest missile appears to be a recently developed intermediate-range missile.

This latest development could escalate tensions a notch higher, considering that North Korea has already been imposed with sanctions by the UN Security Council in response to missile tests it carried out last month.


South Korea's Foreign Ministry in response to this latest development, made it clear that acts of provocation from its Northern counterparts will not be tolerated.

In a statement, South Korea also added that they will respond strongly and appropriately if the acts of aggression continue.

Reuter reported that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the missile fired into its territory posed a grave danger to his country and said a firm response was in order. He also said he would be calling a meeting with the UN to pile more pressure on North Korea.

While North Korea has tested dozens of missiles over the past few months, none has ever been fired directly at a specific target like the recent missile. What culminates from this recent incident will be anxiously awaited and what action will be considered, will determine which direction this latest incident will take.

So far, there has been no comment from North Korea.