Japan says North Korea may have fired ballistic missile

3 weeks ago
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North Korea may have launched a ballistic missile, Japan’s defense ministry said on Thursday, while South Korea’s military said the North had fired two unidentified projectiles into its eastern waters.

It may have been a ballistic missile, a spokesman for Japan’s defense ministry said.

“It has not fallen within Japanese territory and is not believed to have come down within Japan’s exclusive economic zone,” he said.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the U.S. and South Korean militaries were analyzing the launches that were conducted from an area on the North’s eastern coast. It didn’t immediately say whether they assessed the weapons as ballistic or how far they flew.

North Korea’s ballistic missiles are banned under United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and if the launch is confirmed, it would represent the first ballistic-missile test launch under new U.S. President Joe Biden.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff did not identify or elaborate on what the projectiles were or when it was launched.

Earlier, the Japanese coast guard warned ships against coming close to any fallen objects and instead asked them to provide information to the coast guard.

North Korea fired two short-range missiles at the weekend, U.S. and South Korean officials said, but Washington played down the first such tests under President Joe Biden and said it was still open to dialogue with Pyongyang.

Biden’s diplomatic overtures to North Korea have gone unanswered, and Pyongyang said it would not engage until Washington drops hostile policies, including carrying out military drills with South Korea.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

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