UK & World News

  • 7 March 2014, 15:57

Plane 'Crossed North Korean Missile Path'

A Chinese passenger plane crossed the path of a ballistic missile test fired by North Korea, it has emerged.

The China Southern Airlines flight was flying from Narita airport in Tokyo to the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang on Tuesday, according to South Korea's defence ministry.

It said the civilian plane, which had 220 passengers on board, "passed as the ballistic missile (from North Korea) was in the course of descending".

Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said: "On this issue, we have already contacted the North Korean side to convey our deep concern."

China is North Korea's key ally, although three recent nuclear tests by the secretive regime have caused some friction.

Mr Qin said the aircraft was unaffected by the incident, but urged Pyongyang to ensure the safety of civilian aircraft.

Si Xianmin, chairman of China Southern Airlines, confirmed one of its airlines had intersected the trajectory of the North Korean missile.

He said: "The report is true, but the missile was far away from the plane - it was six minutes away and I don't know how many kilometres away in terms of altitude."

A spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Administration of China said it had no knowledge of the incident and had not been contacted by the airline.

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