US urges China, Russia to put more pressure on North Korea

The Japanese government's alert message called J-alert notifying citizens of a ballistic missile launch by North Korea is seen on a television screen in Tokyo, Japan September 15, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The United States called on all nations, including China and Russia, to step up pressure on North Korea following its latest missile launch Thursday.

The missile was launched over Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean, the latest in a series of provocations by Pyongyang.

North Korea fired an intermediate range ballistic missile eastwards over Japan and into the Pacific on Friday, the US said, its latest provocation amid high tensions over its banned weapons programmes.

The launch, from near Pyongyang, came after the United Nations Security Council imposed an eighth set of sanctions on the country over its ballistic missile and atomic weapons programmes.

That was in response to its sixth nuclear test — by far its largest yet — earlier this month, which Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit onto a missile.

The Pentagon confirmed the missile fired was an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) and said it did not pose a threat to North America.

The North has raised tensions in the region with its rapid progress in weapons technology under leader Kim Jong-Un, who is closely associated with the programme and regularly pictured by state media overseeing launches and visiting facilities.

Its last missile launch, a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile just over two weeks ago, also overflew Japan — its first to do so for years — sparking emergency sirens and text alerts, before coming down in the Pacific Ocean.