VIDEO: CATHAY PACIFIC AIRLINE CREW WITNESSED NORTH KOREA MISSILEDate: 2017-12-04
Cathay Pacific airlines have confirmed that the crew of one of their planes reported sighting what they suspect was last week's North Korean missile test while flying over Japan.
According to the BBC, the company confirmed that crew witnessed "what is suspected to be the re-entry" of the missile into the earth's atmosphere.
North Korea tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile on 29 November, claiming it could reach anywhere in the US, raising tensions further with South Korea and the US.
Pyongyang described the latest launch as its "most powerful" missile yet, flying higher than any previous test and ending up in Japanese waters.
The South China Morning Post said Cathay's general manager of operations, Mark Hoey, sent staff a message claiming that "today the crew of CX893 reported, 'Be advised, we witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location'".
Two South Korean aircraft flying to Seoul from the States also witness the missile.
Missile tests by North Korea are usually unannounced, unlike other countries, which poses a potential risk to planes as they come without warning or known flight path – although Pyongyang can study the airspace before any launch as they do have access to international civil aviation data.
Air France expanded their no-fly zone around North Korea in August after one of its planes flew close to a North Korean missile path. Other airlines are taking this into consideration too even though the risk of an incident remains very low.
Cathay Pacific added that as things stand no flight routes were being modified just yet.
The US and South Korea have called Monday's air exercise, Vigilant Ace, and will end on Friday. Apparently, it includes two dozen stealth jets of around 230 aircraft plus tens of thousands of military personnel.
The North has condemned the drills and branding the exercise "all-out provocation", saying it would "seriously consider" counter-measures to the exercises and that the US was "begging for nuclear war".
Take a look at the gallery for the infographic from Channel NewsAsia on the estimated ranges of North Korea's missiles, and check out the video below for coverage from Al-Jazeera.