North Korea has launched a ballistic missile towards its eastern waters and flown warplanes near the border with South Korea, the South’s military said, further raising animosities triggered by the North’s recent barrage of weapons tests.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the launch happened early on Friday but gave no further details including how far the weapon flew.
The Japanese Defence Ministry and prime minister’s office also tweeted that North Korea launched a possible missile.
It is the latest in a spate of missile launches by North Korea in recent weeks. North Korea said on Thursday that leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test launches of long-range cruise missiles that he said successfully demonstrated his military’s expanding nuclear strike capabilities.
North Korea said earlier this week that its missile tests in the past two weeks were simulated nuclear attacks on key South Korean and US targets.
North Korea said the weapons tests were meant as a warning to Seoul and Washington for staging “dangerous” joint naval exercises involving a US aircraft carrier.
The North Korean launches, part of its record-breaking run of weapons tests this year, were seen as an attempt by Mr Kim to acquire a more intimidating arsenal to pressure its rivals to accept his country as a legitimate nuclear state and lift economic sanctions.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff also said in a statement that North Korea had flown warplanes near the rivals’ border late Thursday and early Friday, prompting South Korea to scramble fighter jets.
The North Korean planes flew as close as seven miles north of the Korean border.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said it responded by scrambling F-35 jets and other warplanes. There were no reports of clashes.