North Korea conducts another ballistic missile test

North Korea conducts another ballistic missile test

North Korea has fired a short-range missile towards the sea off its east coast early on Tuesday, said South Korea's military.

It happened at nearly the same moment its U.N. diplomat was decrying the U.S.’s “hostile policy” against it, in an apparent return to its pattern of mixing weapons displays with peace overtures to wrest outside concessions, The AP reported.

The launch, its third round of weapons firings this month, came only three days after North Korea repeated its offer for conditional talks with South Korea. Some experts say the latest missile launch was likely meant to test how South Korea would respond as North Korea needs Seoul to persuade Washington to ease economic sanctions and make other concessions.

In an emergency National Security Council meeting, the South Korean government expressed regret over what it called “a short-range missile launch” by the North. South Korea’s military earlier said the object fired from North Korea’s mountainous northern Jagang province flew toward the waters off the North’s eastern coast. Further details of the launch were being analyzed.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the launch didn’t pose an immediate threat but highlighted “the destabilizing impact of (North Korea’s) illicit weapons program.” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said North Korea fired “what could be a ballistic missile” and that his government stepped up its vigilance and surveillance.

A ballistic missile launch would violate a U.N. Security Council ban on North Korean ballistic activities, but the council typically doesn’t impose new sanctions on North Korea for launches of short-range weapons.

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