Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee says North Korea's latest ballistic missile test toward Japan was a "provocative and dangerous move" and should be condemned.

US officials said the intermediate range missile was fired from near Panghyon airfield and flew for 37 minutes before landing in the Sea of Japan.

It is the latest in more than a dozen missile tests undertaken by the North Korean regime this year and Brownlee said they were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and "completely unacceptable".

"New Zealand has made clear its opposition to such tests and I want to reiterate our condemnation of this type of activity.


"Today's missile landed near Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone - about 370km off the mainland. That's about the same distance as Wellington to New Plymouth - a very provocative and dangerous move.

"I want to reiterate New Zealand's strong belief that North Korea needs to start behaving responsibly and contribute to - instead of threatening - the stability of the region.

Brownlee said New Zealand would continue to support sanctions and international efforts to resolve the issue. The tests took place as China's Premier Xi Jinping and Russia's President Vladimir Putin met in Moscow where the discussions included North Korea.

Pressure has been put on China to use its influence on Pyongyang to try to defuse the situation.

Last week, New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs boosted the risk level in its travel warning for North Korea from "some risk" to "high risk" because of increased international tensions and incidents such as the death of Otto Warmbier, a US student who was detained in North Korea and died soon after his release last month.

The advisory warns against all unnecessary travel. A spokesperson for MFAT said there were no New Zealanders registered in North Korea on its Safe Travel system.