South Korea says North Korea has fired a missile toward its eastern waters

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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
FILE - A photo showing North Korea's missile launch is displayed at the Unification Observation Post in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Sept. 13, 2023.
AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea's military says North Korea has fired at least one ballistic missile toward its eastern waters, adding to a streak of weapons demonstrations that has raised tensions.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday did not immediately provide more details.

Japan's coast guard issued a maritime safety advisory saying North Korea launched a possible ballistic missile. The coast guard minutes later said the suspected missile was believed to have already landed but urged ships to exercise caution if they find any fallen objects. There were no immediate reports of damage.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased in recent months as the pace of both North Korea's weapons testing and South Korea's combined military exercises with the United States and Japan have intensified in a cycle of tit-for-tat.

Thursday's launch came after North Korea flew hundreds of trash-carrying balloons toward the South since Tuesday night in a retaliation against South Korean activists flying anti-North Korean propaganda leaflets across the border.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has also warned of unspecified "overwhelming actions" against South Korea after it staged an aerial exercise involving 20 fighter jets near the inter-Korean border hours ahead of a North Korean satellite launch attempt on Monday. The launch failed after the rocket exploded shortly after liftoff.

The North this year tested various cruise missiles and artillery systems and flight-tested what it described as a solid-fuel intermediate-range missile with hypersonic warhead capabilities. Experts say it is designed to reach remote U.S. targets in the Pacific, including the military hub of Guam.