North Korea fired on Sunday an unidentified projectile from a region near its west coast, South Korea’s military said.
The nature of the projectile is not immediately clear, a South Korean military official said, though local media reports that it appears to be a ballistic missile.
The launch took place at a region named Kusong located northwest of the capital, Pyongyang, where the North previously test-launched an intermediate-range missile it is believed to be developing.
The projectile flew 430 miles, according to The Diplomat. There are reports it was in the air for 30 minutes.
North Korea launched an unidentified projectile early on Sunday, observers from the South said, as local media reports it appears to be a ballistic missile (file image)
If confirmed the launch would be the first in two weeks since the last attempt ended in a failure just minutes into flight.
The North attempted but failed to test-launch ballistic missiles four consecutive times in the past two months but has conducted a variety of missile testing since the beginning of last year at an unprecedented pace.
Weapons experts and government officials believe the North has accomplished some technical progress with those tests.
U.S. President Donald Trump warned in an interview with Reuters in late April that a ‘major, major conflict’ with the North was possible, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute over its nuclear and missile programmes.
The launch is the first since a new liberal president took office in South Korea on Wednesday saying dialogue as well as pressure must be used to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and stop the North’s weapons pursuit.
The launch also comes as troops from the U.S., Japan and two European nations gather on remote U.S. islands in the Pacific for drills that are partly a message to North Korea.
Kim Jong-Un is pictured visiting a tools and utensils exhibition in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 13
The missile launch comes amid claims claims from Kim Jong-Un’s spokesmen that he is willing to talk to the US.
Choe Son Hui declared that North Korea was willing to talk to the Trump administration under the ‘right conditions’.
When asked if North Korea was also preparing to talk with the new government in South Korea, of liberal President Moon Jae-in, Choe said: ‘We’ll see.’
Choe Son Hui made the comment to reporters in Beijing as she was travelling from Norway back to North Korea, Yonhap said.
Choi did not elaborate on what the North’s conditions are, but her comments raise the possibility of North Korea and the U.S. returning to negotiations for the first time since 2008, when six-nation talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program fell apart.
President Donald Trump opened the door this month to talks, saying he would be ‘honored’ to meet Kim Jong-Un.
It comes as the reclusive country sent cryptic broadcasts across South Korea’s airwaves telling ‘number 27 expedition agents’ to ‘review’ their ‘foreign language lessons’.
North Korea has said it is open to talks with the US under the ‘right conditions’ – while also sending new secret coded radio messages to agents in the South
Senior North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui said ‘we will have dialogue if the conditions are there’, on Saturday
North Korea resumed broadcasting numbers in coded messages via its radio station in Pyongyang last June.
Experts believe the codes – usually broadcast at midnight – are used to direct spies across the border in the South.
The messages were read out on radio for the first time since Moon Jae-in became South Korea’s new president.