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North Korea fires ballistic missile off east coast, South Korea military says

A man stands on a pier at Yeonpyeong island, near the ‘northern limit line’ sea boundary with North Korea, on 6 January 2024, a day after North Korea’s shelling (AFP via Getty Images)
A man stands on a pier at Yeonpyeong island, near the ‘northern limit line’ sea boundary with North Korea, on 6 January 2024, a day after North Korea’s shelling (AFP via Getty Images)

North Korea fired a ballistic missile off its east coast, South Korea’s military said on Sunday.

While the country’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed the launch, he gave no details on where the weapon landed or related damage.

A projectile, believed to be the missile, has already fallen, according to the Japanese coast guard, which also said it could be a ballistic missile, reported Reuters.

North Korea military offensive comes days after it fired a barrage of artillery shells near the tense sea border with South Korea, prompting Seoul to conduct similar firing exercises in the same area. It is the North‘s first missile launch since it test-fired its Hwasong-18 solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile, the North‘s most advanced weapon, in December last year.

The Hwasong-18 is designed to strike the mainland US.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are running high after Pyongyang launched its first military spy satellite in November.

In a key ruling party meeting in late December, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed to expand his nuclear arsenal and launch additional spy satellites to cope with what he called US-led confrontational moves.

Experts say Mr Kim will likely further raise animosities by test-firing more missiles to try to raise the stakes in the standoff with his rivals and influence the results of South Korea‘s parliamentary elections in April and the US presidential election in November.

Additional reporting by agencies