Asia Briefs: Airlines not rerouting despite missile test

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In a separate message to staff, Cathay general manager Mark Hoey said the crew described seeing the missile "blow up and fall apart", the South China Morning Post reported.

North Korea's missile testing, which is often conducted without prior notice as required under worldwide agreements, has caused some concern for commercial airlines.

Given the arbitrary nature of the tests, it is possible that a North Korean missile could hit an airplane traveling through airspace near the launch site.

"Currently, our flight routings do not transverse in the vicinity of the missile trajectory as we have taken earlier steps to avoid the northern part of the Sea of Japan". Despite the missile being close enough to be seen by the pilots, the airline is not planning to change its flying routes at the moment.

A report from the Yonhap News Agency said the captain of a Korean Air flight approaching South Korea's Incheon Airport from San Francisco reported to ground control that he had seen a flash about one hour after the North Korean missile launched, The Telegraph reported.

"We remain alert and review the situation as it evolves", the airline spokesman said. Its new Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile is larger and more powerful than previous missiles and credibly able to carry a nuclear warhead.

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Cathay did not give the location of the flight at the time of the sighting, but said the crew of the CX893 flight between Hong Kong and San Francisco had notified Japanese air traffic control "according to procedures".

Pyongyang boasted that the weapon was capable of hitting the USA mainland.

The flight crew's description of the missile breaking up during re-entry suggests the regime's nuclear weapon program still has not yet developed that vehicle, though the regime itself has claimed it has completed its "state nuclear force".

"It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they've taken". In response to the test last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on China to do more to rein in North Korea, specifically through restraining the country's oil supply.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in October condemned North Korea for the repeated launching of ballistic missiles, saying they seriously threatened the safety of international civil aviation.

"We're not going to let this insane man in North Korea have the capability to hit the homeland", he said.

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