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North Korea fires possible missile into sea, say Japan and South Korea

It comes six days after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile into the sea in what it later described as a successful test of a hypersonic missile.

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North Korea said on Thursday it has successfully launched a hypersonic missile as part of efforts to modernise its strategic weapons systems (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

North Korea said on Thursday it has successfully launched a hypersonic missile as part of efforts to modernise its strategic weapons systems (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

North Korea said on Thursday it has successfully launched a hypersonic missile as part of efforts to modernise its strategic weapons systems (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

North Korea on Tuesday fired what appeared to be a ballistic missile into its eastern sea, its second weapons launch in a week, the militaries of South Korea and Japan said.

This month’s launches follow a series of weapons tests in 2021 that underscored how North Korea continues to expand its military capabilities during a self-imposed pandemic lockdown and deadlocked nuclear talks with the United States.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea likely fired a single ballistic missile from an inland area to its eastern sea, and that the South Korean and US militaries were analysing the launch. It did not immediately say how far the weapon flew.

Japan’s Prime Minister’s Office and Defence Ministry also said the weapon was possibly a ballistic missile, but officials did not immediately provide more details.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said officials were checking the safety of ships and aircraft around Japan, but there were no immediate reports of disruptions or damage.

“It is extremely regrettable that North Korea has continued to fire” missiles so soon after the UN Security Council discussed its response to the North’s earlier launch, Mr Kishida said.

The Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defence said they were monitoring the reports of the launch but that no immediate threat was assessed for Guam, a major US military hub in the Pacific.

The launch came six days after North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea in what it later described as a successful test of a hypersonic missile, a type of weaponry it claimed to have first tested in September.

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