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North Korea has fired a ballistic missile powerful enough to hit America, Europe or Australia into Japanese waters.The Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile was launched eastward from Pyongsong in North Korea's South Pyongan Province at around 3.30am local time (6.30pm GMT).Officials in Seoul announced yesterday that a rocket-tracking radar was turned on at a missile base in the North of the region, followed by a large amount of radio chatter, the Yonhap news agency reported.Tokyo and Washington had also placed on alert after radio signals were picked up, with one Japanese official telling the Kyodo news agency that a test could take place 'within the next few days.' Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea's unification minister, confirmed the activity at an event in Seoul today as he warned that Kim Jong Un may complete his nuclear programme much sooner than previously thought.'This is not the path to security and prosperity for the North Korean people.DPRK regime must change course.'The EU branded it a 'further unacceptable violation' of North Korea's international obligations, while Britain's ambassador to the UN called it a 'reckless act'.

Other reasons behind the lull could be that Pyongyang simply needs more time to advance its missile programme such as perfecting its re-entry technology, Cho said, or the North Korean leader could be focusing on boosting the economy.

The Pentagon has now confirmed the missile 'travelled for around 1,000km (620 miles) before splashing down in the Sea of Japan'.

Pictured: Leader Kim Jong-Un (pictured second right) provides guidance on a nuclear weapons programme Kim has already carried out a record 15 missile tests this year, including two which were fired over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

Guam's Homeland Security said the missile launch posed no threat to the US island territory or its mainland.

The Pentagon confirmed the missile 'travelled for around 1,000km (620 miles) before splashing down in the Sea of Japan'.

Mr Cho said there had been 'noteworthy activity in the North recently', but said the world would have to 'wait and see whether it leads to an actual missile test'.

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