Seoul:The latest launch came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to further boost his military capability at a high-profile ruling party conference last week.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile toward its eastern waters on Wednesday morning. It said South Korean and US intelligence authorities were trying to analyse more information about the launch. The Japanese Defence Ministry also detected the North Korean launch, saying the country likely fired a missile.
We find it truly regrettable that North Korea has continued to fire missiles from last year, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.
Kishida said other details about the North Korean launch weren’t immediately available, including where the suspected missile landed and whether there had been any damage. He said he ordered officials to confirm the safety of ships and planes in the area where the suspected missile likely flew and fell.
Wednesday’s launch is the first such firing since North Korea tested a series of newly developed weapons between September and November including nuclear-capable missiles that place South Korea and Japan, both key US allies in the region, within striking distance.
Some experts said North Korea was applying more pressure on its rivals to accept it as a nuclear power state and to ease international sanctions on the country.