Boris Johnson criticises ‘reckless provocation’ of North Korea missile launch

People watch a TV screen showing a file footage of North Korea's missile launch, at the Seoul Railwa

People watch a TV screen showing a file footage of North Korea's missile launch, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on August 29, 2017. Picture: AP PHOTO/AHN YOUNG-JOON - Credit: AP

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has expressed “outrage” at the “reckless provocation” of North Korea’s latest missile launch.

The rebuke came after South Korea said Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile towards the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Mr Johnson tweeted: “Outraged at reckless provocation by £NorthKorea. Strongly condemn latest illegal missile launch by £DPRK.”

Japanese officials said the missile flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific Ocean. There was no damage to ships or anything else reported. Japan’s NHK TV said the missile separated into three parts.

The launch comes amid heightened tension in East Asia after North Korea threatened to fire missiles towards the American territory of Guam.

The launch happened after Pyongyang expressed anger at joint US-South Korea military exercises.

Reports said the launch was believed to be the first to rocket fired from North Korea over Japan since 2009.

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters: “We will do our utmost to protect people’s lives.

“This reckless act of launching a missile that flies over our country is an unprecedented, serious and important threat.”

Residents on Hokkaido were warned of a possible missile launch by a mobile phone message which told people to seek shelter in a “sturdy building or basement”.

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