North Korea fires 'unspecified ballistic missile' eastward

TEHRAN, Feb. 18 (MNA) – The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired "an unspecified ballistic missile" eastward, local media reported on Saturday, citing the Republic of Korea's military.

North Korea fired a suspected long-range ballistic missile toward the East Sea on Saturday, the South Korean military said, its second missile provocation this year, South Korean Yonhap news agency reported.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launch from the Sunan area in Pyongyang at 5:22 p.m. It did not provide other details immediately.

"While strengthening its monitoring and vigilance, our military is maintaining a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States," the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.

The North previously fired a short-range ballistic missile on Jan. 1.

The latest launch came two days after the South's defense ministry published its new white paper that reinstated a reference to the North's regime and military as an "enemy."

Some observers raised the possibility that the launch could be staged in protest over a series of plans by the South and the US to hold high-profile military exercises.

The allies plan to conduct a table-top exercise at the Pentagon next week under the scenario of nuclear use by the North. They are also scheduled to hold the regular springtime Freedom Shield exercise next month.

On Friday, Pyongyang's foreign ministry warned the South and the US will face "unprecedentedly persistent and strong" counteractions should they press ahead with their planned combined military drills.

The South's defense ministry told parliament Friday the North could engage in various provocations, like rocket launches, as it has been pushing to develop a new intercontinental ballistic missile and put a military surveillance satellite into orbit.


News Code 197514


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