SEOUL – North Korea launched a ballistic missile Wednesday into the East Sea, just two days ahead of summit talks between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
“North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the East Sea from a site in the vicinity of Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province, at around 6.42am,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.
The projectile flew about 60 kilometres, and South Korea and the US are analysing additional information, it added, with the exact type of the projectile not confirmed yet.
The US Pacific Command said the projectile seems to be a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile, also known as Pukguksong-2, fired from a land-based facility.
The South’s presidential office convened an emergency National Security Council (NSC) meeting to discuss the provocation, presided over by Kim Kwan-jin, the national security adviser to Acting President Hwang Kyo-han.
Hwang ordered the nation’s troops to strengthen their combat readiness in case of a contingency.
The North’s move came as Trump plans to host the Chinese president in his Florida estate on Thursday and Friday (local time) for their first summit. The North Korea issue will likely be among top agenda items.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Trump warned that the US will take unilateral action to get rid of the North’s military threats unless China does its part.
Two weeks ago, the North test-fired a missile, which ended in failure.
Earlier in March, the North fired four ballistic missiles, three of which fell into the sea near Japan.
In February, it blasted a Pukguksong-2 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) from a mobile launcher.
The Kim Jong-un regime conducted two nuclear tests and fired two dozen missiles last year.
Concern has grown that it may carry out another nuclear test or long-range rocket launch. – BERNAMA