Earlier, US President Donald Trump called North Korea’s latest missile test a slap in the face for its main ally China, which the US leader praised for trying to rein in the regime.
“North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbour, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile ... but China is trying hard!” Mr Trump said in a tweet.
North Korea launched its 12th ballistic missile test this year on Monday, this one falling provocatively close to Japan.
South Korea’s military said the Scud-type missile travelled for 450 kilometres, and Japan said it was estimated to have fallen into its exclusive economic zone, extending 200 nautical miles (320km) from the coast.
North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile...but China is trying hard!
The test was carried out in defiance of UN sanctions warnings, amid fears that Pyongyang may conduct another nuclear test.
Trump declared at the G7 summit last week that the “big problem” of North Korea “will be solved” and has previously warned that no option is off the table.
But so far Washington has opted for sanctions and diplomatic pressure, looking to China, the North’s closest ally, to step up economic pressure on Pyongyang.
In an interview with US network CBS overnight before the latest launch, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis said a war with North Korea would be “catastrophic.”
Japan’s prime minister has vowed to take “specific action” after North Korea launched another missile that plunged into the Sea of Japan.JAPAN VOWS TO TAKE ACTION
“As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” Shinzo Abe said in a televised address on Monday. “Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea.”
It also lodged a protest against the test-firing of the missile, the third this month as Pyongyang ramps up its efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the US mainland.
China and Russia condemned the rocket firing but called for restraint.
Saying the UN Security Council has “clear rules” about the use of missiles, China urged North Korea not to violate them.
“The situation on the Korean peninsula is complex and sensitive, and we hope all relevant sides maintain calm and exercise restraint, ease the tense situation as soon as possible and put the issue back onto the correct track of peaceful dialogue,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Kremlin called on countries in the region to refrain from “military activity,” a Russian news agency quoted the deputy foreign minister as saying.