Japan says North Korea may have fired ballistic missile

TOKYO/SEOUL (REUTERS) – North Korea may have launched a ballistic missile, Japan’s defence ministry said on Thursday (March 25), while South Korea’s military reported an “unidentified projectile” was fired off the peninsula’s east coast into the sea.

North Korea’s ballistic missiles are banned under United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and if the launch is confirmed, it would represent the first ballistic-missile test launch under new US President Joe Biden.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff did not identify or elaborate on what the projectile was or when it was launched.

It may have been a ballistic missile, a spokesman for Japan’s defence ministry said.

“It has not fallen within Japanese territory and is not believed to have come down within Japan’s exclusive economic zone,” he said.

Earlier the Japanese coast guard warned ships against coming close to any fallen objects and instead asked them to provide information to the coast guard.

North Korea fired two short-range missiles at the weekend, US and South Korean officials said, but Washington played down the first such tests under Biden and said it was still open to dialogue with Pyongyang.

Biden’s diplomatic overtures to North Korea have gone unanswered, and Pyongyang said it would not engage until Washington drops hostile policies, including carrying out military drills with South Korea.

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