The South Korean military announced on Wednesday that North Korea had launched an “unidentified ballistic missile”, just days after its latest test, and ahead of US Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to South Korea.
“North Korea launched an unidentified ballistic missile into the East Sea,” Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, referring to the waters known as the Sea of Japan.
The Japan Coast Guard also confirmed the possibility of a ballistic missile launch, citing information from the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo, and telling ships to exercise caution.
This launch is part of an unprecedented series of weapons tests that Pyongyang has conducted this year.
Seoul’s intelligence agency has warned that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct another nuclear test.
MK Yoo Sang-bum told reporters after a secret service meeting in Seoul that North Korea has completed a “third tunnel at its Punggye-ri nuclear site.”
US Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to arrive in Seoul on Thursday for a short visit to the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas.
This week, the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan conducted joint exercises with the South Korean Navy in the waters of the peninsula.
Washington is Seoul’s main security ally and some 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea.
The two countries have long held joint exercises, which they claim are purely defensive, but which North Korea regards as rehearsals for invasion.