Nth Korea fires possible ballistic missile

·1-min read

North Korea has fired a ballistic missile, South Korea's military says, three days before the inauguration of South Korean president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who has vowed to take a hard line against the North.

South Korean military said North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile believed to be an submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) into the sea off its east coast on Saturday from around Sinpo, where North Korea keeps submarines as well as equipment for test-firing SLBMs.

Japan's defence ministry also tweeted that the projectile could be a ballistic missile.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK said the projectile landed outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone, citing government sources.

On Wednesday, North Korea fired a ballistic missile toward the sea off its east coast, South Korea and Japan said, after Pyongyang vowed to develop its nuclear forces "at the fastest possible speed".

The United States assessed North Korea was preparing its Punggye-ri nuclear test site and could be ready to conduct a test there as early as this month.

"Instead of accepting invitations to dialogue, the Kim regime appears to be preparing a tactical nuclear warhead test. The timing will depend most on when the underground tunnels and modified device technology are ready," said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

"A seventh nuclear test would be the first since September 2017 and raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula, increasing dangers of miscalculation and miscommunication between the Kim regime and the incoming Yoon administration."

Yoon takes office on Tuesday. US President Joe Biden is to visit South Korea and meet with him on May 21.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting