North Korea on Wednesday confirmed that it had fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, and said it was meant to counter military drills conducted by the United States and South Korea, reported Reuters. North Korea also said that the missile launch was a “first step” to military action in the Pacific Ocean to contain the US territory of Guam.

“The current ballistic rocket launching drill like a real war is the first step of the military operation of the Korean People’s Army in the Pacific, and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” North Korean state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, as saying.

The United Nations on Tuesday strongly condemned North Korea’s actions, calling it “outrageous”. The UN demanded that Pyongyang immediately halt its weapons programme. The 15-member UN Security Council said that countries should implement all UN sanctions on North Korea.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said the world had received North Korea’s message “loud and clear”. “Threatening and destabilising actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world,” Trump said. “All options are on the table.”