People in Seoul, which is only 60km from the border, watch North Korean missile tests closely. Photo: Reuters

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK says that North Korea has fired an apparent missile close to midnight on Friday, Reuters reports.

Citing government officials, the report says that the projectile may have landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Conclusions from a confidential Pentagon report revealed earlier this week found that North Korea could have a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by as early as next year.

The Trump administration also said this week that more Chinese entities will be targeted for sanctions in response to perceived inadequate pressure being placed on Pyongyang by Beijing.

Should Washington go forward with the sanctions they will not likely bear fruit. With Chinese President Xi Jinping shoring up public support ahead of the 19th Party Congress this fall, there is a next to zero percent chance he would capitulate to US pressure on the issue, after China has repeatedly reiterated that they are doing all they can.