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    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides on the spot the underwater test-fire of strategic submarine ballistic missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on April 24, 2016

    North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile

    © REUTERS / KCNA
    Asia & Pacific
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    North Korea has fired a ballistic missile, the Yonhap News Agency reports, citing South Korean military sources.

    The missile was fired in the direction of the Sea of Japan at around 7:55 am February 12, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was fired from Banghyeon in North Pyongan Province; the flight path has not yet been determined.

    The Pentagon has confirmed that it detected the launch.

    "The flight distance was about 500 kilometers, and South Korea and the United States are conducting a close-up analysis on additional information," South Korea's Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

    South Korea's military was working on confirming whether the missile was the intermediate-range Musudan, which the country last tested late last year. The Musudan missile's range is estimated at about 3,000 kilometers. Based on the missile's launch site, North Korea experts speculate that it is the Musudan and not a longer-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).  

    The test had been expected for some time, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un reportedly having announced a test in his New Year's Eve address to the nation. It was also suggested that the country might test an ICBM this month to mark former leader Kim Jong-il's birthday, or that it would test a medium-range weapon.

    It is unknown what type of missile was fired. 

    US President Donald Trump has taken a belligerent stance on North Korea. In response to reports that the country was in the final stages of developing a missile that could reach the US at the turn of the year, he tweeted, "North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!" This is the first missile test conducted during his administration.

    The UN, via Security Council resolutions, has banned North Korea from carrying out ballistic missile launches. In November, with crucial support from China, the UN imposed new sanctions on the country over its many missile launches in 2016. The council resolved to hit North Korea's biggest export, coal, cutting it by about 60%. China would cut its coal imports from the country by about $700 million, it was reported at the time.

    Last month, the US provided $1 million in flood relief to the rogue nuclear state after flooding and typhoon damage was thought to have killed hundreds and left thousands homeless. It was the first such aid to have been provided in five years. 

    North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests since 2006. The country claims to be capable of conducting a nuclear strike on the US.

    Just last week, US military authorities expressed concern that the country could not handle an escalation of tensions with North Korea without withdrawing from some of its other global commitments. 

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently in the US, meeting with Trump. 

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    Tags:
    ballistic missile, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK)
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