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North Korea fires unidentified projectile into waters off Korean Peninsula, South Korea says

North Korea fires unidentified projectile into waters off Korean Peninsula, South Korea says
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The Japanese government said in a tweet that the missile may have been a “ballistic missile”.

The Japan Coast Guard said the likely ballistic missile had already fallen into the sea by 8:23 a.m. local time. All ships in transit are invited to look for updates.

The Japanese government also said it was confirming the safety of planes and ships.

The submarine missile test came after weeks of simmering tensions on the Korean peninsula, which have seen increased cooperation between Pyongyang and Seoul at the same time as military brinkmanship escalates. Last year, the country also accelerated its weapons testing program, including the launch of what it claimed was a new hypersonic missile in late September.

Pyongyang is prohibited from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons under international law.

Wednesday’s launch comes just days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivered a speech at the end of the year in which he admitted there was a “food problem” in the country. The speech ended an important five-day meeting of his Workers’ Party of Korea.

Kim also praised the military progress made during his 10th year in power, but did not specifically mention South Korea or the United States, except for a brief reference to the policy directions of inter-Korean relations and foreign affairs.

“North Korea is signaling that it won’t stop its Omicron missile development nor the lack of domestic food,” said Leif Eric Easley, a professor at the University of Iowa in Seoul.

“This test shows the Kim regime’s disregard for internal suffering. Instead of welcoming humanitarian aid, Pyongyang is violating UN Security Council resolutions in ways that merit more economic sanctions,” he said.

This is an evolving story. More is coming.

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