The missile that North Korea test-fired from a submarine off its east coast on Wednesday momentarily brought together three nations that have recently had reasons to squabble.

At a previously scheduled meeting in Tokyo, the foreign ministers of the three nations — China, Japan and South Korea — criticized the missile test, which appeared to demonstrate a significant advance in North Korea’s efforts to build a harder-to-detect means to strike American and allied forces. The missile flew 310 miles toward Japan, much farther than previous tests.

Tensions between the three countries have risen in recent months: Chinese vessels have repeatedly entered disputed waters surrounding a group of Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea, setting off protests from Japan. Tokyo opposed a visit this month by South Korean lawmakers to islands both nations claims. And China has harshly criticized South Korea’s agreement to host an American-built advanced missile defense system that the Chinese believe could be used against their missiles.

But North Korea’s missile launch briefly united the three other nations on Wednesday. Continue reading.