North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile into the sea on Wednesday, the armies of South Korea and Japan reported, in the first such launch in nearly two months.
The launch came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to bolster his military capabilities, without revealing any new policies toward the United States or South Korea, during a high-profile conference of the ruling party last week.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that its northern neighbor fired a suspected ballistic missile into its eastern waters on Wednesday morning, noting that intelligence authorities in Seoul and Washington were trying to analyze the information.
In an emergency videoconference, members of the South’s presidential national security team expressed concern about the incident, noting that resuming dialogue with the North is important in resolving tensions, according to the South Korean presidential palace.
The Japanese Defense Ministry also detected the launch and confirmed that Pyongyang would have fired a missile.
“We find it really regrettable that North Korea has continued to launch missiles since last year,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters, adding that no further details were available at the moment, such as where it fell. and if it caused damage.
Between September and November, North Korea carried out a series of weapons tests in what experts described as an attempt to increase pressure on its rivals to accept it as a nuclear power and to achieve relief from economic sanctions.
The US government has reiterated its willingness to resume nuclear negotiations “whenever and wherever” without any conditions. So far, North Korea has rejected those proposals, claiming that Washington’s hostility has not changed.
South Korea’s outgoing President Moon Jae-in said in his New Year’s speech on Tuesday that he will continue to seek ways to restore relations with the neighboring country and promote peace on the Korean peninsula until the end of his term in office. may.
According to Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, Pyongyang could have tested a hypersonic missile or a nuclear-capable KN-23 with very maneuverable, low-trajectory flight.
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