North Korea fires ballistic missile amid rising concerns over tests

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North Korea fires ballistic missile amid rising concerns over tests

North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the waters off its eastern coast on Wednesday, South Korea's military said, reported DW, quoting news agencies AP, AFP, dpa and Reuters.

Japan also confirmed the weapons test, with the country's Coast Guard urging vessels to steer clear of any potential fragments.

In a statement following the launch, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the missile was fired from the Sunan area of North's Pyongyang region.

Sunan is where North Korea last fired what it claimed to be Hwasong-17, a "new type" of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), on March 24.

"Our military is maintaining readiness posture while closely monitoring related activities for possible additional launches," the South Korean military said in its statement.

Pyongyang speed up weapons tests

North Korea has carried out 14 missile tests this year, including a suspected intercontinental missile launch in late March. Wednesday's launch comes a week after the North vowed to develop its nuclear forces "at the fastest possible speed."

In March, North Korea resumed long-range missile launches for the first time since 2017. Officials in Seoul and Washington have said Pyongyang could be preparing for nuclear tests as well.

Some observers have said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants to use his expanded arsenal to win international recognition of North Korea as a nuclear state and that he believes such a move would pressure the United States to relax international economic sanctions on Pyongyang.

North Korea fires ballistic missile amid rising concerns over tests

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