A medium-range ballistic missile fired Wednesday by North Korea flew about 620 miles and landed near Japan's territorial waters, officials in Tokyo and Seoul say. This was one of the longest flights by a North Korean missile, and the US Strategic Command says North Korea fired two presumed Rodong missiles simultaneously on Wednesday, not just one, the AP reports. The command's statement says initial indications reveal one of the missiles exploded immediately after launch, while the second was tracked over North Korea and into the Sea of Japan. Japan's Defense Ministry says the missile landed inside Japan's exclusive economic zone, the 200-nautical-mile offshore area where a nation has sovereign rights for exploring and exploiting resources. Japanese media reports it was the first North Korean missile that has splashed down in Japan's EEZ.
"It imposes a serious threat to Japan's security and it is an unforgivable act of violence toward Japan's security," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says. North Korea has recently claimed a series of technical breakthroughs over its goal of acquiring a long-range nuclear missile capable of reaching the continental US. South Korean defense officials say North Korea doesn't yet have such a weapon. An analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies says the latest Rodong launch appeared to be aimed at showing an ability to attack US military bases in Japan, a major source of reinforcements for US troops should a war break out on the Korean Peninsula. (South Koreans have been rattled by mysterious radio broadcasts from the North.)