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S Korea, US: Pyongyang test-launched unidentified projectile

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This screen grab taken from North Korean broadcaster KCTV on March 7, 2017 shows ballistic missiles being launched during a military drill from an undisclosed location in North Korea. (Photos by AFP)

North Korea has fired an “unidentified projectile,” which is thought to be a ballistic missile, says South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.    

"North Korea launched a ballistic missile at 5:27 am this morning in Pyongan Province," said the South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

It added that analysis is currently being carried out on the projectile which flew for around 700 kilometers.

Following the launch, Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, stressed that it was a violation of UN resolutions and that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had severely condemned it. "North Korea's repeated missile launches are a grave threat to our country and a clear violation of UN resolutions," said Abe. 

Japan's Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said that the projectile may be a new type of missile, which reached an altitude of more than 2,000 kilometers before falling in the Sea of Japan.   

The US Pacific Command has also confirmed that Pyongyang has carried out another missile launch. "US Pacific Command detected and tracked a North Korean missile launch," said an official statement, adding that the tested missile has still not been determined.

Newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-In also condemned the launch as a "reckless provocation.” "The president... expressed deep regret over the North's reckless provocation staged only days after the beginning of the new administration in the South," said spokesman.

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Tensions have been on the rise on the Korean Peninsula over the past weeks.

Unsettled by North Korean missile and military nuclear programs, the United States has adopted a war-like posture, sending a strike group and conducting joint military drills with North Korea’s regional adversaries Japan and South Korea.

Pyongyang defends its missile and nuclear programs as a means of protecting the country from US hostility.

This US Navy handout photo obtained April 25, 2017 shows the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) as it transits the Philippine Sea while conducting a bilateral exercise with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force in the Philippine Sea.

In addition to a naval strike group, which includes the large USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, Washington deployed two supersonic bombers over the peninsula during a joint exercise with South Korea’s air force on Monday. The USS Michigan nuclear submarine joined the strike group earlier this week.

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In April, the US also deployed a THAAD missile system in South Korea rising tensions over North Korea’s ballistic and nuclear tests.  

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