North Korea fires ballistic missile toward Sea of Japan

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North Korea has fired a ballistic missile toward the Sea of Japan, the Japanese government said Sunday, the latest in a series of missile launches by the North this year.

The missile is believed to have fallen outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone after flying about 300 kilometers and reaching an altitude of about 600 km, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters, adding no damage has been reported.

The Japanese government lodged a protest with North Korea via the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, Kishi said. Tokyo and Pyongyang do not have diplomatic relations.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the suspected ballistic missile was launched from an area near Sunan in Pyongyang around 7:52 AM toward the Sea of Japan.

The launch marks the eighth round of missile tests by Pyongyang since the beginning of 2022. The previous launch was on January 30.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed his government to provide accurate information to the public, confirm the safety of ships and aircraft, and respond to unforeseen situations.

On January 30, North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile. It was believed to be its first launch of such a missile since November 2017.

The January 30 launch came after Pyongyang had hinted at resuming nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, saying it may restart all “activities” that it had temporarily suspended to build trust with the United States. — Kyodo News

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