Russia hits out at Pyongyang - and Washington - after latest North Korea missile test

Kim Jong-un has upped the rhetoric again in recent days

Russia has condemned North Korea and the US in the wake of the latest ballistic missile test by Pyongyang.

Moscow said the hermit state’s test was ‘illegal’ but also saved some criticism for Washington.

‘Regrettably, aggressive rhetoric is the only thing coming from Washington,’ said the Kremlin.

Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the comments to reporters on a conference call.

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He was speaking after Pyongyang fired a missile that flew over Japan’s northern Hokkaido far out into the Pacific Ocean on Friday, deepening tension after its recent test of its most powerful nuclear bomb.

“In Russia we are deeply concerned about these provocative launches which are further stoking tensions. Clearly demonstrating that our position is that such launches are unacceptable is the most tangible thing we can do right now,” said Peskov.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had earlier branded the launch ‘reckless’ and called on China and Russia to take ‘direct action’ against Kim Jong-un, while Seoul responded to the test by launching the missiles of its own.

The test sparked panic in Japan, where residents were immediately told to take shelter as the missile passed directly overhead – the second time Pyongyang has done so in the past few weeks.

It flew over Hokkaido in northern Japan and fell into the Pacific Ocean, sparking a nationwide alert.

South Korea said the missile probably reached an altitude of 770km and travelled 3,700km and called an urgent National Security Council meeting.

The North’s launch comes a day after it threatened to sink Japan and reduce the United States to “ashes and darkness” for supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing new sanctions against it for its nuclear test on September 3.

 

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

The severe sanctions include limits on imports of crude oil and a ban on exports of textiles – which is the country’s second biggest export, worth more than $700m a year.

The North previously launched a ballistic missile from Sunan on August 29, which flew over Japan’s Hokkaido island and landed in the Pacific waters.

Earlier on Thursday, the totalitarian state risked the ire of the international community once more, after threatening to sink Japan with a nuclear bomb.

The latest threat, which did nothing to lessen tensions in the Pacific, came in a statement issued by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

‘Japan is no longer needed to exist near us’, the statement read.

‘The four islands of the archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche.’

Responding to the latest threat, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga described it as ‘extremely provocative.’

North Korea has frequently defied international threats (Picture: AP)

‘If North Korea stays the course that it is on, it will increasingly become isolated from the world’, Suga stated at a press conference in Tokyo.

’Through implementing the new United Nations Security Council resolution and related agreements, the international community as a whole needs to maximise pressure on North Korea so that it will change its policy.’

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The statement also threatened the United States, calling for it to be reduced to “ashes and darkness”.

“Let’s vent our spite with mobilisation of all retaliation means which have been prepared till now,” the statement said.

The shadowy hermit state also threatened to attack Guam, the U.S. controlled island in the middle of the pacific.

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