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N Korea fires short-range missile toward Yellow Sea

North Korea has fired a short-range ballistic missile toward the Yellow Sea, located between China and the Korean Peninsula, South Korea's military says.

The launch follows a statement on Tuesday by Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, that any move to shoot down one of North Korea's test missiles would be considered a declaration of war.

The missile was fired at about 6.20pm local time from around the North Korean city of Nampo, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement on Thursday.

On Tuesday, North Korea blamed a joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea for growing tensions, state media KCNA said.

The United States and South Korea will conduct large-scale military exercises known as the "Freedom Shield" drills starting next week.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said the latest launch posed no threat to the United States or its allies but said Pyongyang's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs have a destabilising effect on the region.

"We are aware of the ballistic missile launch and are consulting closely with our allies and partners. While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilising impact of the DPRK's unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs," it said on Thursday, referring to weapons of mass destruction.

A threat assessment report by US intelligence agencies said North Korea had been timing its missile launches and military demonstrations to counter US-South Korea exercises since September 2022.

"Probably to attempt to coerce the United States and South Korea to change their behaviour," it said on Wednesday.