North Korea Fires Suspected Ballistic Missile Towards East Sea, South Korea and Japan Say

North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile toward the East Sea on Jan. 11, South Korea and Japan said.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) announced the launch in a text message to reporters around 7:30 a.m. local time without elaborating further.

“For additional information, the intelligence authorities of South Korea and the United States are in the process of conducting a detailed analysis,” the JCS wrote in the text message.

The Japanese government also suspected the projectile to be a ballistic missile and convened an emergency meeting in response to the launch.

According to Japanese ministry officials, the projectile reached a maximum altitude of about 50 kilometers and would have flown 500 kilometers.

Japanese officials also presumed that the projectile fell in the Sea of Japan, outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

The launch comes less than a week after North Korea test-fired a new “hypersonic missile.”

The Jan. 5 launch was North Korea’s first major weapons test this year and it was the second reported of such a missile to date, following one last September.

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un at a key ruling party meeting earlier this month stressed the importance of strengthening the country’s military.

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