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N. Korea fires an apparent ballistic missile toward Sea of Japan

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North Korea presumably launched a ballistic missile towards the Sea of Japan on Wednesday, the Japanese coast guards reported.

The authority said the missile has fallen into the sea and warned fishing vessels to be cautious and to stay away from potential debris. No further information about the launch was provided.

According to Japan’s NHK TV channel, the Defense Ministry of Japan is looking into whether any damage was done to Japanese vessels. An emergency board was set up at the government of Japan to gather information about the launch.

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South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said North Korea fired what appears to be a ballistic missile toward the East Sea.

The North launched the missile eastward at around 8:10 a.m. from a land-based platform, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

South Korea’s military in cooperation with the U.S. is closely watching related North Korean movements and maintaining a readiness posture against the possibility of the North’s additional launches, the JCS said.

North Korea’s previous missile test took place in October 2021. On that day, the country fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

The latest saber-rattling came just days after the North concluded a five-day Central Committee plenary of the ruling Workers’ Party on Friday, highlighting its key focus on economic issues and its pandemic response.

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At the plenary, participants stressed the importance of boosting their country’s defense capabilities, pointing to the growing instability of the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not issue any particular messages for the South or the United States at the gathering, but the latest launch appears aimed partially at raising the stakes for future talks with the allies, analysts said.

Wednesday’s launch could also be part of the North’s wintertime drills, some observers said.

The launch came amid expectations the North could refrain from major strategic provocations that could undermine the mood for peace in the lead-up to the Beijing Winter Olympics slated for next month.

Source: Tass/Yonhap

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