North Korea has fired another ballistic missile off its eastern coast into the Sea of Japan, according to South Korean and Japanese officials, marking the latest in a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang in recent weeks.
One ballistic missile was launched at about 10:17 a.m. local time on Oct. 19 from the vicinity of Sinpo, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, adding that it’s presumed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The location is where North Korea keeps submarines as well as equipment for test-firing SLBMs. North Korea has also launched other types of missiles from the area.
“Our military is closely monitoring the situation and maintaining readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States, to prepare for possible additional launches,” the South Korean JCS said in a statement.
The Japan Coast Guard described the projectile as a possible ballistic missile, and advised ships in the region to avoid any fallen objects and be alert for further notices, local media reported.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said initial analysis suggests that two ballistic missiles were fired. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida commented that it was “regrettable” that North Korea has conducted a string of missile tests in recent weeks.
Both South Korea’s JCS and Japan’s Coast Guard didn’t immediately disclose any details of where the missile may have landed or how far it flew.
North Korea has been conducting a series of weapons tests in the past month amid international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons and missile programs. It has also recently restored dormant communications with South Korea, which have been largely halted for more than a year, after calls from officials in Seoul to do so.
The North Korean regime has so far rejected U.S. efforts to restart talks aimed to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs, which are banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions. It says that Washington must first drop its “hostile policy,” a term it uses to denote U.S. sanctions and U.S.–South Korea military exercises.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.