Pyongyang has recently stepped up weapons tests, resuming long-range missile launches for first time since 2017 in March. Officials in Seoul and Washington say it may also be preparing for a new round of nuclear tests.
Days after Kim Jong Un vowed to bolster his nuclear arsenal “at the fastest possible pace”, North Korea has reportedly launched a ballistic missile.
South Korean and Japanese officials said the launch, the North’s 14th round of weapons firing this year, came from Sunan airport in its capital region and flew to the waters off its eastern coast.
It comes six days before a new conservative South Korean president takes office for a single five-year term.
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol has vowed to boost Seoul’s missile capability and solidify its military alliance with Washington to better cope with increasing North Korean nuclear threats.
Japan’s Defence Ministry said North Korea had fired a possible ballistic missile but did not provide further details.
The Japanese Coast Guard urged vessels off Japanese coasts to stay away from any possible fragments.
Observers say North Korea’s unusually fast pace in weapons testing this year underscores its dual goal of advancing its missile programmes and applying pressure on Washington over a deepening freeze in nuclear negotiations.
Source: Sky News