North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, South Korea claimed on Wednesday morning.
The missile was launched from the eastern coastal town of Sinpo on Wednesday morning and flew about 60 kilometers (37 miles), Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
“At 06:42 am (2142 GMT Tuesday) today, North Korea fired a ballistic missile from Sinpo area into the Sea of Japan,” the ministry said in a statement.
It said South Korea and the US were analyzing its flight path to determine its type.
“The military is keeping a close watch over North Korea’s provocative moves and maintaining a high defense posture”, it said.
The US military said the missile was launched from a land-based facility near Sinpo. It said initial assessments indicated it was a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile, the statement said.
“The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America,” the statement said.
Japan also confirmed a “ballistic missile launch” and filed a protest with North Korea, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.
He said Japan absolutely could not tolerate North Korea’s repeated provocative actions.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House called a National Security Council meeting to review the situation.
US prepared to act alone
Earlier this week US President Donald Trump threatened the US was prepared to act alone if China did not help reign North Korea in. He is meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was relatively quiet on the testing, just confirming Pyongyang had launched “yet another” intermediate range ballistic missile.
“The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment,” he said in a statement.
The launch came as South Korean and US troops conducted annual military drills that the North sees as a rehearsal for invation. The communist state often responds to the drills with its own military training and harsh rhetoric.
It is widely believed that Pyongyang eventually hopes to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead. It has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them last year.
Two weeks ago, the South Korean and US militaries said they detected what they called a failed North Korean ballistic missile launch.
aw/jm (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)