North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan early Tuesday, a U.S. official told Fox News, just as the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations spoke at the U.N. General Assembly.
Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said “an unidentified projectile” was fired from an inland location. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga added that its government stepped up surveillance as it looked into details of the launch.The U.S. State Department condemned the missile test and said it poses a threat to the region, Reuters reported.
It was the third ballistic missile test for North Korea this year. Other missile tests in recent weeks included a new cruise missile — which flies lower and slower than a ballistic missile.
North Korea is barred from conducting ballistic missile tests by the U.N. Security Council, but the council typically doesn’t impose new sanctions on North Korea for short-range weapon launches.
The missile launch on Tuesday came just days after Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, reached out to Seoul, saying her country was open to resuming talks if certain conditions were met.
It raised optimism that dialogue would be resumed. However, North Korea ambassador Kim Song used a speech on the last day of the U.N. General Assembly to justify North Korea’s development of a “war deterrent” against U.S. threats.
He demanded the U.S. “permanently” stop its military exercises with South Korea, along with ending the deployment of U.S. strategic weapons.
“The possible outbreak of a new war on the Korean Peninsula is contained not because of the U.S.’s mercy on the DPRK, it is because our state is growing a reliable deterrent that can control the hostile forces in an attempted military invasion,” Kim said, referring to North Korea by the abbreviation of its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
This week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in had called for a declaration to formally end the Korean War.
After the North’s launch Tuesday, Moon ordered officials to examine its latest weapons firing and previous outreach before drawing up countermeasures, according to Moon’s office.
A U.S.-led diplomatic effort aimed at convincing North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons in return for economic and political benefits has been stalled for 2½ years. U.S. officials have repeatedly expressed hopes for further talks but have also made it clear the long-term sanctions imposed on North Korea will stay in place until the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.
Kim Jong Un has delayed testing longer-range weapons, an indication he wants to keep the chances for future diplomacy with the U.S. alive.
The country’s most recent ballistic missile test earlier this month was launched from a train.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and the Associated Press contributed to this report