North Korea launched a ballistic missile launched from a submarine on Saturday, the Seoul army said, its second missile launch in three days and after the United States warned that Pyongyang was preparing for a nuclear test.
“Our military detected at around 14:07 (05:07 GMT) that a short-range ballistic missile is presumed to be an SLBM launched from the waters off Sinpo, South Hamgyong,” the Joint Chiefs of Seoul staff.
It was initially reported that the South Korean Army Joint Chief of Staff said North Korea fired an unidentified bullet into the waters off its east coast on Saturday.
The latest launch just arrives three days after Pyongyang’s last missile launchas warnings grow that a nuclear test could conduct.
“North Korea shoots at least one bullet in the East Sea”, Joint Chiefs of Staff of Seoul said, referring to the Sea of Japan.
The Japanese coast guard, citing information from its defense ministry, said North Korea launched an object “probably a ballistic missile” and warned its ships to pay attention.
The launch is arguably the country’s 15th nuclear weapon test so far this year.
On Wednesday, North Korea tested what Seoul and Tokyo claimed to be a ballistic missile, although Pyongyang state media – which typically report on weapons testing – did not comment on the event.
Despite severe international sanctions on its weapons programs, North Korea has significantly stepped up testing this year while ignoring US offers of talks.
Saturday’s test comes just days before South Korea’s new hawkish president Yoon Suk-yeol unveiling on Tuesday.