Japan’s Coast Guard has said it has detected a suspected ballistic missile launch from North Korea on Saturday that, if confirmed, would be the seventh such test in the past month.
South Korea’s military Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the regime fired two projectiles on Saturday morning from around Sondok, South Hamgyong province. Sondok is the site of a North Korean military airfield.
“Our military is tracking the movement in the North in case of additional launches,” the JCS said in a statement.
South Korea’s presidential office is holding a National Security Council meeting concerning the projectile launch, the office said in a statement.
The launch comes after Pyongyang made a scathing attack on Friday on US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, calling him a “diehard toxin” following the US diplomat’s comment that the US would continue the “toughest” sanctions on the North until the reclusive state denuclearised.
“He is truly impudent enough to utter such thoughtless words which only leave us disappointed and sceptical as to whether we can solve any problem with such a guy,” said North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-hoRi, in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.
Japan’s Self Defense Forces said the suspected missile did not land in Japanese territory or within its Exclusive Economic Zone and its Coast Guard warned shipping not to approach any fallen debris.
A series of launches by North Korea since US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met at the inter-Korean border in June have complicated attempts to restart talks between US and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.
Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report