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North Korea fires medium-range ballistic missile

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North Korea fired a medium-range ballistic missile on Tuesday (Apr 2), Seoul’s military said, the latest in a spate of banned weapons tests by Kim Jong Un’s regime this year.

Tuesday’s launch was the third ballistic missile test of 2024, after a solid-fuel one overseen by Kim in March and another tipped with a manoeuvrable hypersonic warhead in January.

It also comes less than two weeks after Kim supervised an engine test for a “new-type intermediate-range hypersonic missile”, according to North Korean state media, which has also said he oversaw “super large” rocket launcher drills and tank exercises this year.

Seoul’s military “detected around 6.53 (2153 GMT) what is presumed to be a medium-range ballistic missile fired from Pyongyang area into the East Sea,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, referring to the body of water also known as the Sea of Japan.

The missile flew about 600km before splashing down, the JCS said, adding it had “stepped up monitoring and are closely sharing relevant information with the US and Japan”.

“We strongly condemn the North’s blatant provocation that threatens peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” it added.

Tokyo confirmed the missile launch, with its coastguard urging vessels to be vigilant and report any fallen objects without approaching them.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK, citing unnamed government sources, reported that the missile appeared “to have fallen in waters outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone”.

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