Seoul: China plane 'flew near North Korea missile path'

File photo of a North Korean soldier at the border village of Panmunjom North Korea has conducted several missile tests over the past week

South Korea has criticised a North Korean missile test which it says took place as a Chinese passenger plane flew in the area.

Tuesday's launch was one of several missile tests conducted by Pyongyang in recent days.

"There were no accidents, but a very dangerous and serious situation could have occurred," a spokesman said.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman expressed concern and said Beijing would seek more information.

North Korea often conducts short-range missile tests, and has fired several missiles into the sea, off its east coast, in the past week.

The missile tests coincide with annual joint US-South Korea military drills, which Pyongyang condemns as provocative.

'Serious threat'

The Chinese plane, which carried more than 200 passengers, was heading from Tokyo in Japan to Shenyang in China on Tuesday, South Korean officials said.

The North Korean missile was launched at 16:17 local time (07:17 GMT). The plane passed through its trajectory seven minutes later, they added.

"An aircraft passed by as the ballistic missile fell. On a safety level, this is a serious issue of concern," said South Korea's Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok.

The Los Angeles-class nuclear powered attack submarine USS Columbus (SSN 762) (C) sails into a naval port to take part in Foal Eagle, an annual joint military exercise between the US and South Korea, in Busan, South Korea, 3 March 2014 Pyongyang has been angered by joint US-South Korean military drills

"The failure to protect the safety of civilians by issuing an advanced navigational warning according to international norms is a serious threat."

Qin Gang, a spokesman from China's foreign ministry, said on Thursday that Beijing attached "high importance to the security of national civil airlines".

He added that "necessary measures" should be taken when conducting military drills to "ensure the security and safety" of civilian ships and aircraft.

"Without any doubt, China will verify the relevant situation with the relevant party and express necessary concerns over that."

North Korea's state-run news agency, KCNA, cited an unnamed army spokesman who called the rocket launches "self-defensive actions of justice".

There were "meticulous advance safety measures over the flight path and the designated waters", the spokesman added.

Meanwhile, the US asked the UN Security Council to take "appropriate action" against North Korea's missile launches.

In a report to the Security Council, the US said that Pyongyang's launches on 27 February and 3 March "clearly used ballistic missile technology".

Under UN resolutions, North Korea is required to abandon its ballistic missiles programmes.

More on This Story

Korea crisis

More Asia stories

RSS

Features

  • Shinji Mikamo's father's watchTime peace

    The story of the watch that survived Hiroshima


  • Northern League supporters at the party's annual meeting in 2011Padania?

    Eight places in Europe that also want independence


  • Elephant Diaries - BBCGoing wild

    Wildlife film-makers reveal the tricks of the trade


  • Hamas rally in the West Bank village of Yatta, 2006Hamas hopes

    Why the Palestinian group won't back down yet


  • A woman dining aloneTable for one

    The restaurants that love solo diners


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.